Every year CUF is supported by hundreds of churches from across the length and breadth of the country. It is thanks to their support that we are able to support millions of people with our work. This year, however, has been particularly special. This year St Peter and St Paul’s in Fenstanton went all out.
Julia Mitchell is a part of St Peter and St Paul’s. We’ll let her tell you about it.
Well, this year we selected Church Urban Fund as our charity of the year. At our church this means that we try to make a difference in any way that we can as we support the work for the whole year. For me and another church goer, Keith, this means we hop on our bikes for a sponsored cycle ride.
We always try and link the ride with the charity we are supporting, so we decided to cycle down to Great Yarmouth to see the work that CUF is doing there. The keener students of English geography might note that Fenstanton to Great Yarmouth is quite a way (the best part of 100 miles each way!) and, as we weren’t quite up to our very own Tour de East Anglia, we decided to start in Stalham and keep it to 50 miles!
I have to say, I hadn’t considered a seaside town like Great Yarmouth as being an area of significant deprivation. That perception changed after our visit. We met with Anna at the Kings Centre. She told us about how she’s been reaching out to Great Yarmouth through her work with CUF; she’s a part of the Together Network which is a series of partnerships between CUF and local diocese. Her partnership is Imagine Norfolk Together and they haven’t been running all that long. Considering how long she’d be doing the work, I couldn’t believe all that she’s achieved.
They’ve worked closely with food banks, have supported the local community through the switch to Universal Credit and last year set up a winter night shelter that will run again this year. It’s always reassuring when, tired legs and bike in tow, you can see for yourself that the money you’ve raised is making a tangible difference in lives not 100 miles from our own.
53 miles (we may have taken the occasional wrong turn) and £314 later, we made it back. At our church we have seen throughout the year that Church Urban Fund are making a real difference; it has been a real joy to raise money for a cause that we know to be both just and so effective in reaching out to the most vulnerable in our society. I believe you can see a little more about what we’ve been up to in this video.
I’d encourage you to consider making Church Urban Fund the charity of the year at your church; for us it has been an excellent decision. All we did was decide to make a difference in any way we could.
If you'd like to know more about more about St Peter and St Paul's journey this year, take a look at this video: