Norwich Christian resource centre resurrected
By Keith Morris
A thriving city centre Christian resource centre, bookshop and cafe is set to re-open in Norwich under new management within the next few weeks after a successful rescue plan.
The directors of a new Community Interest Company - Norwich Christian Resource Centre - have been liaising with the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, landlords of St Michael-at-Plea Church, Redwell Street, Norwich - and have now got the go-ahead to open for trading before the end of September.
The centre was previously run by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) until November 2006, when all the SPCK shops were transferred to St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (SSGCT).
Sadly the centre finally closed in May this year, leaving virtually all the previous staff without employment.
Steve Foyster, who managed the SPCK Centre until June 2007, when he left to set up a new online Christian bookshop, is one of the directors of the new company.
Since then, he has stayed in constant touch with suppliers and many ex-customers of the centre, who have all been amazingly supportive of the new project, he said.
“I am delighted to be able to return to manage once again to what had almost become a second home for me,” he said. We wanted to give a well loved and frequented resource back to the communities of Norwich and Norfolk.”
Virtually all the ex-shop and cafe staff will be re-employed at the new centre, which has been one of Steve's other hopes over the past months.
They also have other plans and hopes including revitalising the garden space, more events, inter-faith events and a non-alcoholic juice bar for teenagers.
“Over the past months, an immense amount of prayer and goodwill has been given to the revitalisation of a totally ecumenical Christian resource centre, that had become a meeting place; a platform for stimulating discussion and debate; a peaceful and welcoming refuge for refreshment, open to visitors of faith or none. We thank God that we are now so close to bearing fruit,” said Steve.
The directors of NCRC have received several pledges to help finance the new centre, as quite a lot of the shop fixtures and stock, as virtually all the cafe equipment has been removed by the previous owners.
However, Steve would be immensely grateful to receive contact from anyone wishing to make a donation, however small, to help purchase specific equipment, such as a new computer network, freezers/chiller, cafe counter, etc.
Alternatively offers of equipment in very good condition, such as a new safe would be equally welcome.
The company directors include: Clive Bolton (St Paul’s Hellesdon), John Gill (Oak Grove), Ray Wharton (Bergh Apton), Ian Walters (Brundall parish church) and Steve (St Mary and St Andrew, Horsham).