JANUARY has been really exciting for us at Harbour Church – we’ve opened a new coffee shop.
You may already have seen Harbour Coffee House, near Sprinkles ice-cream parlour on the part of Commercial Road closest to Portsmouth and Southsea railway station.
It’s just underneath the refurbished department store where we worship each Sunday.
We’re offering great-tasting coffee, juice, smoothies, cookies and cake to anyone who works, studies or shops in the city centre.
And we’ve already attracted a regular clientele.
You might wonder why a church wants to run a coffee shop, apart from the fact that all the staff at our church love drinking great coffee!
Well, it’s part of our plan to try to offer unemployed local residents a pathway into work.
We took on a couple of jobless people who would like to work in construction to help us to refurbish the place and get it ready.
For now, we’ve employed some professional managers and baristas so that we can get the coffee shop established.
But in future we hope to be working in partnership with a national charity which is already working in a couple of cathedrals – Manchester and Liverpool.
The scheme would provide long-term unemployed young people with education via Portsmouth College, and the chance to work here and build up employment skills.
We would give them a real working environment and mentoring.
If you are young or haven’t worked before, it’s hard to get a job that you need experience for.
Hopefully we can provide that for them.
Our church was first created in September with a group of young people who had relocated from St Peter’s Church, Brighton, with a specific brief to appeal to students and young adults.
But we also feel very passionately that we should help the homeless, jobless and other marginalised people in inner-city Portsmouth.
Hopefully this is one way we can do that and make a practical difference to some people’s lives – as well as providing you with a great coffee stop.
For details about what our church and coffee shop can offer, got to harbourchurchportsmouth.org.
Harbour Church is at 97 Commercial Road, Portsmouth.
Sunday services are 10am and 6pm.
Rev Alex is vicar of Harbour Church, Portsmouth