In February 2022, the Alnwick Branch of the church in Northumberland set up free weekly 4-hour sessions for anyone in the local community to come and charge their digital devices, play games, warm-up, eat soup, chat, and access the internet.
President James Perry recalls how the project began- “I felt we could utilise the building and our facilities much more. We have church on Sunday, Youth during the week, and then some activities but the rest of the time it is not used. At the same time our Relief Society President found out that warm hubs were being set up around the country but so far none in our town.”
The initiative first ran for 3 months, where the local newspaper helped spread the word before residents turned up to attend.
President Perry continues-
“It has been wonderful to see people mingle together, especially after these last 2 years with Covid. We have had a real mix of people attending. Some have benefitted from coming here and not heating up at home. Others have been looking for company to meet new people. We have also had people who have come because they are willing to help others.
“We have also had people being reactivated through this. Some of our Ukrainian members can invite and speak to other Ukrainian people in the area, and the missionaries also use this opportunity to invite the people they speak to.
“Some [visitors are] curious, others just want to be informed. People also want to know what other things are on and then we tell them about our monthly walk, our monthly family history workshops, weekly youth nights and Sunday worship. And we have people attending those too, including on Sunday.
“It is very simple to run. Bring some soup and some buns and some board games. It does require some commitment, but members are committed and practical to do it.
“We are starting it again next month. The need is clearly there, and the cost-living-situation has only got worse so more than ever there is a need for this.”
Truly, the members of Alnwick Branch can testify of the truthfulness of Elder Quentin L. Cook’s statement
I have found that most significant spiritual experiences occur when we are helping and serving others and accomplishing the Lord’s purpose.Elder Quentin L. Cook