St Mary’s, Pickersleigh are running a lunch club for local children across three weeks during the school holidays. Helped by their Calling Young Disciples Mission Enabler, they are opening the church from 11.30am – 2pm and providing primary age children with activities and a hot meal on three different Thursdays.

children doing craftChildren and Families’ Worker, Sarah McCarten-Williams, has led a small team in planning the lunch clubs. She said: “We were keen to do something over lunchtime as ‘holiday hunger’ is a real issue for some families near us – the children would normally be provided a hot meal at schools. We have asked people to book in, but have said that we’ll still accept people who turn up on the door if there is space. We had 12 children last week and this week it’s gone up to 21 – they’ve all come back smiling and happy!”

boy with handmade fishThere is a seaside theme running across the three Thursdays and each week is focussed on a different bible story – Moses parting the Red Sea, Peter walking on water and the ‘big catch’. The story is told in the morning through Godly Play or using Lego; children have a bit of free play before lunch and then there is the chance to make biscuits or do craft before the session finishes with parachute games. Families are charged £2 for the first child and then £1 for any additional siblings.

Helen helping with bakingHelen Weir is new to St Mary’s after recently moving to Malvern and has become involved in the planning. She said: “It was clear that in this area there was a need to low cost activities for children over the summer holidays.It is great to be able to provide that in a Christian environment where we can share some bible stories together. We’ve let the children have some input in what they’d like to do – the spaghetti bolognese wasn’t as popular as the chicken nuggets and beans they chose this week! It’s great to see the children all sitting down, sharing and chatting together – they seem to be enjoying themselves.”

Kara, age 12 is a member of St Mary’s and has been at the lunch club as a young leader. She said: “I’ve been helping the younger children make butterflies and do some baking. It’s a really fun environment and it helps keep me and the other children entertained over the summer holidays.”

children eating puddingGeorgia, age 9, said: “The food has been the best bit as I love food! I’m looking forward to next week.”

Ashton, age 10 said: “It’s been good fun, I especially enjoyed making shortbread biscuits.”

Sarah continued: “These holiday lunch clubs are definitely something that we’d like to do again. We’re also hoping to do more events for children more regularly, including starting some monthly family craft workshops in the style of Messy Church.” 

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