glen community church

Glen Community Church is an innovative, relatively new church family formed to serve the residents of the Glen estate, Newtownards, by the parish church of St Marks Church of Ireland in an effort to redress the situation where many local people no longer engaged with the local church.

Glen Community Church opened its doors for the first Sunday gathering on Sunday 24th August 2014 and during the intervening three years, our church family has grown steadily with a purposeful aim of meeting the needs of this local community. With a dedicated team of volunteers, they are witnessing an increased sense of ownership as they seek to meet those needs and attempt to create capacity building within the community, including encouraging local people to lead and direct the various group activities that help children, young people, women, and men.

There initially appeared to be a lack of community cohesion seemed with only certain families consulted or involved with decision making with much of the directed funding to the estate going primarily to the elderly and young children. Yet many young adults (many of whom are parents) were presenting with low self–esteem and with little or no self–worth and unable or unwilling to avail of help and facilities available.

The Glen Community has slowly implemented programmes and groups that will make a difference and one such weekly group is the COMMUNITY CAFÉ which operates from the Glen Community Centre on a Wednesday afternoon between 12.30pm and 3.00pm.

The centre is set up with café style tables at which people can eat their lunch; comfortable soft seating for chatting and crafting; and a play area for the preschool children in attendance. Volunteers take it, in turn, to set up, make and serve lunch and refreshments and clear up afterward.  Invitations go out on a regular basis to anyone living in the local area of all ages, gender, and ability with a light lunch is served around 12.45pm with a cuppa and treats to follow.

While they seek to engage with all ages, currently there is predominantly a female group in attendance, most of whom have their preschool children with them, however, there are a number of people in the older age bracket who just love the opportunity to meet alongside the younger ones and enjoy one another’s company.  During the afternoons, external agencies have also been invited to come along and confidentially discuss matters that affect their lives (housing, debt, parenting, etc.) and the Church Leader is always on hand for advice and support.

The Community Café is making a positive impact and they are hoping to increase their engagement with three community profiles in particular i.e. young parents, seniors, and older men.

Each group has a number of differing needs that they are seeking to address. For example they would like to increase the number of young parents, seniors and older men attending; encouraging young parents to seek and accept support as and when required; to build closer intergenerational links between each group; provide safe places for each group where all feel accepted, comfortable and find enjoyment within the café through participation in a variety of board games; and a greater sense of ownership of the project through participation and training in a range of activies e.g. Basic Food Hygiene, First Aid, etc.. So if you want to join them and get involved – as a volunteer helper or guest – get in contact –they’d love to see you there!

S. Clarke & Son

Stephen Doherty (Church Leader)
Glenbrook Road, Newtownards

T 07933 236544
Visit Website