Foodbanks are now, sadly, a common feature of many towns and cities as more and more people struggle to find the money to pay for life’s basics.
Of course, foodbanks don’t tackle the core problem, but they do at least help some of those who struggle to pay for one of our basic requirements – the need to eat.
And most of the Derbyshire foodbanks have strong connections with our churches.
One such foodbank is in Long Eaton, which is a collaboration between a number of churches of different denominations and is based at the Methodist church. It relies on donations and a team of 40 or 50 volunteers who are drawn from churches and the local communities.
It also has a foodbank in Sawley and a satellite in Castle Donington.
The volunteers do a range of jobs, including packing, welcoming guests and offering conversation, logistics, signposting people to other services, warehouse organisation, and collections.
Revd Samantha Tredwell is the vicar of St John in Long Eaton and is involved in the foodbank. She’s been telling Together Magazine more.
Q: How bad is the problem of food poverty in Long Eaton?
A: There’s been an increase of 52% in the use of the foodbank in the last 18 months and that’s been at the same time as the roll-out of Universal Credit across the region. We knew it would go up – but it’s gone up and stayed up. So we’re now getting as many as 18 to 25 users each session.
Q: And who uses the foodbank?
A: I would say everybody. People with young families – particularly in the holidays, people who have been made redundant and homeless people. We also see the working poor - people who aren’t earning enough to pay their rent and to feed themselves, or people on zero-hours contracts who don’t know from one month to another how much money is coming in and there isn’t enough to go around.
Q: So anyone could find themselves in this situation then? If for example they were to lose their job?
A: Yes, because people think there is a network of benefits. There are benefits but there is quite a serious time lag between applying and getting that money. The government says it’s five weeks, but we’ve seen it be eight or nine weeks without any money. The longest I’ve come across is a lady who went for seven months without any benefits – because of complications, because you need identification or a bank account – those things that perhaps people don’t have.
Q: As a vicar, how does it make you feel seeing these people at the foodbank today who haven’t got enough to eat?
A: It makes me angry – angry that people should go hungry. It feels wrong on all levels. We are a wealthy nation … and we also throw away a large amount of food each year. And we frequently come across people who have chosen to feed their children rather than themselves and have gone for days without eating. That makes us angry!
Q: So how does this work? Where do you get the food from to give to others?
A: The food we give out all comes from donations, which come from the community – from Long Eaton and Sawley. The community keeps us going and is very, very generous. We have food bins in Tesco and Asda that are filled up twice a week – we get tremendous help from them. The churches are collection points, people do collections for us and we have a Facebook page where we publicise what we need.
Q: How do you decide who needs what?
A: The Trussel Trust gives us a picking list – they’ve put together a list of things you would need to keep you going for about three to four days. The list includes cereal, milk, coffee, vegetables etc – so because we’re part of that network they’ve done the hard work for us. Obviously, a single person gets less than a family… but we give out more single parcels than anything else.
Q: This has led to other activities, hasn’t it?
A: Yes, it’s a real ecumenical process. One of the things about the foodbank is that you don’t really get to know people well. So, at St John’s in Long Eaton we are fortunate to have a big hall and a kitchen, so we decided to do a lunch once a week to build on friendships and to serve a hot meal. We thought we’d do that for six weeks – and two years on we’re still going. This week we fed around 100 people! They include young families, people who are older and lonely and some older people who are not managing on their pension. And another church, Oasis, has started a breakfast club on a Monday morning and a job club.
St John’s has also applied for a grant to put on some basic cookery classes. It’s all very well people coming to collect food, but not everyone has the skills to cook.
Q: What’s the best thing people can do to help?
A: Checking what we need is really helpful – we don’t really need baked beans all the time – we often need milk vegetables and other things. So please check first. I had a significant birthday this year and instead of presents I asked for food – and I collected about three-quarters of a ton for the foodbank – so people could try things like that too!
Find out more and get in touch by checking out their Facebook page: @longeatonandsawleyfoodbank
St Andrew’s Radbourne has launched a crowdfunding campaign to enable it to replace the remainder of its lead roof with steel.
Following two separate lead thefts in four years, the PCC has decided on the steel option to help prevent further theft and damage to the church.
However, this comes at a cost of £55,000.
The PCC’s crowdfunding project manager, Tim Gretton, said: “St Andrew’s has a small congregation, an average of 12 - and raising this money through the usual fundraising activities is not feasible.
"So, crowdfunding seemed to be a good option.
The church roof at St Andrews has been targetted twice in four years
“We have a dedicated Facebook page and email address and we have also had roadside banners advertising the project. The campaign runs for four weeks and is being run through crowdfunder.co.uk.
“We really hope that people will give generously to help to preserve an ancient and listed building of significant architectural and historic interest, as well as preserving a local place of worship for generations to come.”
Bishop Libby has written in support of the campaign: "It is deeply distressing to hear that St Andrew's Radbourne has been the target of roof lead theft for the second time in four years.
"I commend the positive action being taken in response, and support the fund-raising effort by the PCC, to replace all the lead with steel and thus prevent further theft as well as protecting an ancient place of worship for future generations.
"Please support 'Stop The Church Roof Lead Thieves'."
Pupils at St Peter's C of E Primary School in Netherseal have been doing their bit for the Bishop of Derby's Harvest Appeal, raising £242.85 through various table-top sales.
After the teachers shared details of the appeal, a Year 6 pupil asked if they could do something practical to help - and the Save Zimbabwe Sale was born.
Headteacher Melanie Machell said: "The children worked extremely hard and organised everything!
"They wrote posters, bought 'stock' for their stalls, wrote letters to businesses for donations, baked cakes, designed games and collected from parents.
"It was fabulous that the children felt so empowered to make a difference and we are very proud of their achievement."
The 70 pupils at St Peter's also spent time discussing the plight of the people of Manicaland and praying for them.
This year's appeal, Harvest Homes, is raising funds to help rebuild homes in Manicaland, Zimbabwe, where Cyclone Idai destroyed homes, crops and livelihoods.
On hearing of their efforts, Bishop Libby said: "This is a joy to hear about – our children giving us a lead in generosity of spirit and action.
"I am grateful to all the pupils, staff, parents, and everyone else who has contributed to this remarkable outcome.
"And I thank God that these children have helped the vulnerable people of Zimbabwe, most affected by Storm Idai, rebuild there lives.
"No wonder Jesus said children are at the heart of the Kingdom of God."
Have you been raising money for Harvest Homes? Please tell us about your fundraining events.
One of the newest choirs in the Diocese of Derby has been practising hard for a Remembrance Sunday performance – the group’s first public outing.
Signs from the Peaks started when Buxton Team Rector Liz England got together with a group of other people who were keen to start a signing choir.
Liz has a Level 1 in British Sign Language (BSL). She joined forces with Steph Bennett, a BSL teacher, Elaine Hill, who works with the deaf community, and Liv Lazarus, also BSL qualified, to form Signs from the Peaks – a now 20-strong ensemble.
And after around six weeks of rehearsing, Liz decided to invite the choir to perform at the church’s Remembrance service.
That in itself is a milestone for some of the choristers who have never before attended a church service.
Liz said: “I love the inclusivity of it. Not only do we have people who use sign language regularly, but also members of the community who have never signed before.
“The choir is open to anyone, whether they have experience in signing or not.
“The aim of this amazing choir is to get people involved who are passionate about being creative and like a bit of tea and biscuits too!
“And one of our founding members, Ana Mankiewicz, runs Grapevine Wellbeing Centre, a mental health charity in Buxton - so she invites people who feel isolated to join in. This is a win-win for all concerned.”
Signs from the Peaks meets on Tuesday evenings at 6pm at St Mary’s Church, Dale Road, Buxton.
See them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/704810786658751/ or contact Liz England on 01298 212667.
Each year, the nation prepares to remember the fallen.
And each year, an army of volunteers heads out into the Diocese to help sell those poppies and raise vital funds to support today's Armed Forces community – and to help ensure we never forget.
In the village of Hulland Ward, not far from Ashbourne, one such volunteer has been committed to selling poppies for a staggering 75 years!
Members of our online camera club have been busy snapping away over the past few months - and what a great selection of photos they've posted!
The club operates through Facebook - and if you enjoy taking photos in the Diocese of Derby, you're welcome to join!
Pictures can be on any subject but should celebrate the richness and diversity of life in the Diocese - they don't have to be photos of our churches (though they are always welcome, of course).
The aim is to pack the page with great shots of landscapes, architecture and Christian activity from Glossop to Gresley, Bolsover to Breaston, Chellaston to Crich and Chesterfield to Cubley.
Fun competitions may be held, but any favourite images which capture the energy of our deaneries are welcome and may also be posted in our galleries on the Diocesan website.
Copyright remains with the photographer as named below each image.
The village of Eyam has been recreated in fruit cake!
Baker Lynn Nolan's model took three months to make and the tasty model is on display in St Laurence's church until the end of November 2019.
Lynn used a total of 65 cakes, which are held together with skewers and covered in icing.
You can see the model at Eyam Church from 10.00am to 4pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and on Sundays from 1.30pm to 4.00pm.
One of the great things about going to school is that you get fed!
And whilst not every child relishes the thought of having a school dinner, at least those that do don’t go hungry.
But what happens during the school holidays? If parents are struggling to make ends meet there is a real possibility that some children can start the new term malnourished.
Breakfast and lunch clubs during school holidays have proved to be part of the solution for some areas.
We are aware of some suspicious emails that appear to be from clergy and even from Bishop Libby. Responding to the emails will result in requests for money or gift cards.
Please DO NOT reply to the emails.
We are not currently aware how many may be affected; however, it is important that we are all aware and be vigilant to protect our online safety and security.
We are not aware of any system security breach and are in the process of compiling some website best practice guidelines so that our churches can take action to greater protect themselves.
Steps to take if you receive a suspicious email
- DO NOT reply to the email.
- Check the email address of the sender – is it the same email address as usual?
- If in doubt, type in the usual email address of the clergy, rather than just hit reply. Better still, talk to them and check if they have sent this email.
- Run a complete anti-virus scan of your computer.
- If you have sent any money as a direct result of the email, please contact the Police to report the matter.
Steps to take if you are the named sender of a suspicious email
- Reassure any recipients that you have not sent the email and verify your correct email address.
- As a safety procedure, reset your email password and any clergy portal passwords.
- Run a complete anti-virus scan of your computer.
- If you receive any reports of money being sent as a direct result of the email, please contact the Police to report the matter.
On Sunday, 6 October 2019, four candidates were Admitted and Licensed by Bishop Libby as Readers at a very special service in Derby Cathedral. The service also served as a Thanksgiving for 50 years of Reader Ministry by Women.
Our special congratulations to:
Katherine Mary (Kate) Brookbank
Anthony (Tony) Hill
Roberta (Bertie) Walker
In addition, Brenda Silcock, who was formally Licensed in the Diocese of York was given Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Derby.
On a later occasion, Martin Cox, Licensed in another diocese will be Licensed to the Diocese of Derby.
Photographs from the day are available to view and download on our Flickr page.
Readers in the Church of England are lay people froma range of backgrounds and experiences who are trained and authorised to preach, teach and lead worship.
There are more than 8,500 Readers actively involved in ministry in the Church of England today.
Men were licensed into the role in 1866, but it was over 100 yars later before women were permitted to become Readers.
Legislation was passed in 1969 and since then the ministry of both women and men as Readers has continued to be a vital part of the life of the Church of England.