Humanity First

02nd November 2022

“We put humanity first – no matter what religion you are, or how you have come to be in your situation, we will try to help you.”

Chair of Manchester’s Rainbow Surprise, Shakar Hussain

Foodbank collection points, free warm clothes rail and a free warm breakfast … just some of the ways our cathedrals are serving their communities this winter.

Lincoln Cathedral can’t keep up with the demand for its warm rail which offers clothing to people in need during winter.

Cathedral staff say the warm rail, which was opened a couple of weeks ago, has been more popular than they expected and even got cleaned out last week.

Now the cathedral is looking at how this can work better and is considering becoming a donation point with distribution via professional charity partners.

Lincoln has also announced it will launch a warm welcome breakfast once a month through winter starting this November offering people a bacon roll, hot drink, a chat and a warm welcome, and they hope to get the warm rail back up and running then too.

Many of our cathedrals have partnered with their local food banks to act as official collection points, and Manchester Cathedral is the latest to join in.

Manchester is now an official collection point for Rainbow Surprise, a charity providing food bank and community fridge support for people across North Manchester.

Foodbank collection points for cathedrals

The team at Rainbow Surprise currently prepare between 250-300 food parcels a week for those in need and that number is only set to rise this winter.

Anyone in need is welcome to use the service, which operates from Crumpsall Community Hall at St Matthew with St Mary’s Church.  The only questions asked of clients are about their dietary requirements and what means they have as a household to be able to cook food.

Twice a week Rainbow also cook up to 100 meals to take out to homeless shelters, and those in temporary accommodation and residential centres.

Chair of Rainbow Surprise Shakar Hussain said:

“Everyone involved with the running of this charity has had some experience of being homeless or going hungry so we are totally free from judgement.

“We put humanity first – no matter what religion you are, or how you have come to be in your situation, we will try to help you.”

The charity receives support from organisations such as FairShare and supermarkets like Sainsbury’s which donate short and out-of-date food, but otherwise they rely on donations.

Find out more about the appeal here.

Lichfield Cathedral has just announced it will be opening its College Hall this winter to provide a safe space for people to meet, share stories and get free hot drinks and biscuits.

Every Monday from Monday 14 November Lichfield Cathedral will open College Hall in the Close from 1.30-6pm as part of the Places of Welcome network.

There will be free hot drinks, quizzes, jigsaws and some toys for children and the opportunity to chat to others.

Canon David Primrose, of Lichfield Cathedral, said:

“Here at Lichfield Cathedral we are joining the Places of Welcome, a network of safe places where people can connect and belong.

“This is a place for all people.”

Do get in touch with your local cathedral to find out about food bank donations and other cost-of-living initiatives, and how you can help your community too.