Church puts out call for volunteers to help
those who are in need

(l-r) Deborah Dawes, Cliff Bembridge and Natalie busy in the kitchen of Buckland United Reformed Church, providing hot meals to people in need.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141014-774) PPP-140204-203304001
(l-r) Deborah Dawes, Cliff Bembridge and Natalie busy in the kitchen of Buckland United Reformed Church, providing hot meals to people in need.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141014-774) PPP-140204-203304001
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HELPING people get out of debt is just one of the ways you can make a difference by volunteering at a Portsmouth church.

The Buckland United Reformed Church has called for volunteers as part of our 20:20 campaign.

Minister Cliff Bembridge said there were many volunteer roles people could fill at the church, including as counsellors in a new debt-reduction programme.

He said: ‘We see online gambling increasing, and there are more and more people getting into debt.

‘We’re starting this service to help people find their way out.’

Mr Bembridge said the church would offer training to people willing to volunteer a few hours each fortnight to work as counsellors.

He said he was also looking for volunteers who could help restore the church or help at a weekly soup kitchen.

‘One of our projects is trying to convert the 700-seater church into a community hub,’ he said.

‘Our plan is to provide cafe facilities and space for community groups to meet to provide help and support.’

Mr Bembridge said the church’s extension, built in the 1970s, needed to be updated.

He said: ‘If there are any tradespeople, retired tradespeople or even just people with good DIY skills who could come along to help, then that would be very much appreciated.

‘There are support organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous which use that part of the building.

‘We also run a soup kitchen and we’ve set up a small business centre to enable small businesses to have a home where they’re not tied into long leases.

Mr Bembridge said some volunteer jobs seemed simple, but meant a huge amount to the people who benefited from them.

He said: ‘In terms of the soup kitchen, the more people we have the more personalised service we can offer to those who come along.’

Mr Bembridge said people who came to the soup kitchen were often ignored by society.

‘It’s not just about serving food, it’s also about talking to people,’ he said. ‘There are those who are suffering from mental health issues but might have their own homes through to those who are literally on the streets and all sorts of stages in between.

‘Some people are sofa-surfing, and between being on the street one night and on a friend’s sofa the next night.

‘Others are permanently on the street.’

Mr Bembridge said anyone who wanted to learn more about volunteering at the church could contact him on 077233 97237.