A project aimed at helping people struggling with complex needs has been praised for giving vital support to the local community by one of Suffolk’s bishops.
The Safe Harbour Church in St Helen’s Church, Ipswich, is a refuge for those facing life’s challenges. Volunteers and guests were delighted when the Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich, met them within the last few days. It was opened in 2021 with the aim of helping people to turn their lives around and was seen as a community for ‘‘people who have been battered and bruised by the storms of life.’’
Bishop Mike said: ‘‘Safe Harbour offers food, warmth and hospitality to those who need it – not least those who are isolated or alone, those struggling with addictions, those navigating physical or mental health challenges, those in economic straits or facing other difficulties. It provides a safe, loving, Christian community accessible to all and is flourishing, making a real difference to those who are involved.’’
Safe Harbour is an accessible church that provides a safe environment where men and women can meet weekly. ‘‘Safe Harbour is for those who are travelling through the storms of life. We are like a lifeboat station that aims to help those in need by welcoming them into a safe community through sharing meals and sharing the good news, that Jesus loves us and wants to journey with us,’’ said Bob Hamilton, Leader of Safe Harbour Church.
Paul Southall is a volunteer with Safe Harbour’s Top Up Shop and he said: ‘‘I like Safe Harbour because I can meet some interesting people there and all the people are very friendly and polite.’’
Safe Harbour offers three events all on a Thursday. There is a free lunch at 1.00pm followed a Top Up shop and café at 2.30pm. Visitors are invited to make a donation of £2 and fill a bag of food and other household items. They can have a free tea or coffee, and it is hoped agencies will attend and offer advice on debt, housing or other needs on Thursdays.
The Safe Harbour Table is on the first Thursday of the month at 6.00pm with a free two-course meal for those who are struggling with the cost of living.
Photo credit: Keith Mindham