Tibberton village church is about a mile outside the village, but the school and Village hall are almost opposite each other, right in the centre. As with many village schools, only 40% of the children who attend are from the local village area, with the rest brought to school by car from the suburbs of the neighbouring towns (Droitwich and Worcester).
Having experienced the fellowship and support of the school-gate-mums when my children were at our local school, I thought we might offer a facility in the village hall where the collectors of children, who usually just sit in their car and wait, might get together. I talked with some of our congregation and, with the support of the Village Hall Committee, Tibberton Coffee Shop was born. Initially we ran it every other Tuesday, but now have decided to run it each week. We provide free tea, coffee and home baked cakes and biscuits, a children's corner with some toys, a book swop and some Fairtrade goods. There
is a facility for anyone who might like us to pray for them in church. The Coffee Shop is run by a mixture of people, though with some of our congregation leading the organisation.
The group decided to invite anyone from the village as well as the school mums and we have a good number of
… we ran it every
other Tuesday, but now have decided to run it each week.
otherwise fairly housebound elderly people who come. A few local mums and kids have also been dropping in, and following a renewed push last week, where leaflets were handed out at the school gate, we had a surprisingly good number of children and their collectors with us.
The church in Tibberton has very good links with the school through Open the Book and the positive support of the head teacher, and it just goes to show what we can offer even in a sleepy Worcestershire village.
Biddi Kings To set the prisoner free?
Tim* is a 52-year-old hill farmer. His beef and sheep farm is a credit to him. He lives on his own and has, for most of his adult life, felt like a prisoner. It was only after he rang the Gay Farmers Helpline that he experienced a feeling of liberation. It had taken some time to pluck up the courage to ring, but when he finally made the call the words just tumbled out as he was freed. Although he was in his early teens when he realised that he was gay, due to ‘pressures’ he had kept his secret until he “reached bursting point and could cope no longer”.
James* is a 55-year-old dairy farmer living with his family. He too realised that he was gay but he cared deeply for his wife and “didn’t want to hurt her” by telling her about his true sexuality. Again the pressure became too great. In desperation he called the helpline and found someone he could talk to in total confidence with no fear of being judged or betrayed.
The agricultural chaplaincy in Cheshire recently began to realise the true extent of the need and have launched a confidential helpline 07837 931894 and a website www.gayfarmer.co.uk
The response has been overwhelming. Nearly all the farmers are over 50. Some are single, though not all. In all cases they felt that
they were imprisoned and were the only gay farmer around. How wrong they were! In many instances farmers are so worried about the response they may receive that they only text or email the helpline. However as they begin to gain confidence in our organization some will leave contact details though they can remain anonymous or just use a Christian name if they wish.
Demand for the confidential helpline is high and more assistance is needed. Could you, or someone you know help to fill this need. Rural knowledge and an understanding of gay issues are required. Help is also needed to publicise the confidential helpline and the website.
James* texted: “Today is much better than yesterday. Our chat did me the world of good, am able to talk about issues that I bottle up. Knowing that there are people that understand makes all the difference”
Can you, will you, help the helpline to help others? *For reasons of confidentiality the names have been changed
To offer assistance to the helpline contact: 01270 522576 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
www. countryway. org. uk 5
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