Bethel Church: A community hub

Lou Peet, church leadership team member and attendee at Bethel Church in Coventry since 2003, explains the significant role this church plays in the local community.

“The Bethel Church building started life as a simple wooden construction - a temporary building in the 1930’s that ended up being permanent! When a fire destroyed that original building nearly ten years ago, leaving only the newer church hall standing, we began the process of raising funds for a new facility that would cater for all the community work we do, and the people that meet here as a church.

“We gathered a lot of local support and financial pledging but needed a primary backer to help the project come to fruition and this is where Charity Bank came in. The Charity Bank team was very accessible and understanding of our situation. We had already absorbed significant costs with planning checks, archaeology and architect fees and so getting the Charity Bank loan through enabled us to finally breathe easy and move forwards with the work. The new, expanded facilities on site are going to be fundamental to developing all the work we carry out in the local community and we’re very thankful it’s been made possible.

“Based in one of the most deprived areas of the country, Bethel has always had a heart for the community it serves and a desire to see positive change and light spreading into dark places. We run many outreach activities, such as a toddlers group, a community drop-in facility where we welcome everybody under the ‘Places of Welcome’ scheme, a community café, and until recently - a large food bank.

“We’re on track to open the new building in June this year. This coincides nicely with the church’s 80th anniversary. We’re a small, independent church and this new building is a big deal for us and the local community we serve so we plan to hold a weekend of celebrations. A lot of people’s time, effort and money has gone into making this happen, and so it seems only right to mark the occasion alongside the whole community.

“The new, expanded building is going to be fundamental to developing all the work we carry out in the local community and we’re very thankful it’s been made possible.”

Lou Peet, church leadership team member
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Lou Peet, church leadership team member, helping get the new facilities ready for opening

Mitch Brookes is a local resident of Spon End, Coventry, and serves on the leadership team at Bethel Church, running several of their community outreach programmes.

“Bethel Church is a very family-minded church and an invaluable resource for our community. It offers so many ways for people in the area to come together, forge relationships and find companionship. My family originally became involved with the church in around 2011 when we took our children to the toddlers group. Now the kids attend the Sunday school and other youth groups that are organised there.

“I wanted to get involved with this important community work and started helping with the food bank in 2012. A couple of years later I joined the leadership team and am now involved with several of the outreach programmes.

“The new building will be a fantastic opportunity for these wonderful community programmes to grow and develop. With the current, rather small, space we often have to put two groups in together and there have also been occasions when we’ve had to turn people away as there simply hasn’t been enough room. Now, not only we will be able to develop the activities we offer, we’ll be able to welcome more people as well.”
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Church workers Tom Owen & Manohar Sidhu prepping food for Drop-In users

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Drop-In sessions are held every Wednesday afternoon where people can have a bite to eat, chat to others and talk to a staff member if they need to