Second helping for meals service

Rev Canon John Hall
Rev Canon John Hall

A group which runs a hot meals service in Fleetwood town centre has now opened a second one in the town.

The Mustard Seed Group has been operating the service at St Peter’s Church, on Lord Street, every Monday evening from 6pm to 8pm since February 2012.

Several years ago it became apparent that in Fleetwood, most places where you could get a simple meal shut around 5pm and the only place you could go was a pub or a restaurant

Now there is a similar facility running at St David’s Church, on the corner of Larkholme Lane and Fleetwood Road, every Thursday at similar hours.

Rev Canon John Hall, who oversees St Peter’s and St David’s, insisted Mustard Seed was not strictly a soup kitchen and was not there solely for homeless people.

He said: “Several years ago it became apparent that in Fleetwood, most places where you could get a simple meal shut around 5pm and the only place you could go was a pub or a restaurant. But what if you couldn’t afford that or you were alone?

“These sessions offer a place where you can get some hospitality, a hot meal, a friendly face and some advice, if you need it. It would be a dream to end the need for food banks or soup kitchens but the fact is, you would still be welcome here even if you weren’t homeless or poor.”

When the St Peter’s sessions first began, there was shock in the town that Fleetwood needed such a service. Many felt Fleetwood did not have a homeless problem and that soup kitchens only occurred in large cities like London and Manchester.

But so popular have the sessions proved, it was decided to open one in the south end of the town as well.

Mustard Seed followed in the footsteps of a food bank run by the St Vincent de Paul Society, prompting concerns about Government austerity measures

However, Rev Hall said help could be offered for financial problems or other issues and the Mustard Seed sessions also acted as a signpost to other services.

He added: “One of our volunteers is a hairdresser so you can even get a haircut for next to nothing. We can get as many as 70 people at St Peter’s but at St David’s we’re getting about 20 at the moment.”