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Small gestures empower change

When deciding what to cover in his final ministry project at the end of his curacy, the Revd Mark Nelson used inspiration from a nearby repair cafe in Aston Clinton to start up a similar project for the whole community in Winslow, Buckinghamshire.

Mark is sitting fixing a hoover.Working with the Environment Team in the diocese and a group of willing church volunteers passionate about the environment, Mark began a monthly repair cafe at St Laurence Church for local people to bring along their broken household items for repair. Whilst goods from clothes to toasters to lawnmowers are repaired, locals can sit to have a coffee and cake in the church with their neighbours.

Having been a Head Gardener with the National Trust before moving into ordained ministry, Mark uses his experience with garden machinery to complete much of the repair work himself, along with the help of local volunteers. Between them, they repair between 15 and 20 items each third Saturday of the month. There is no charge for the repairs enabling access for all households, but many give donations in recognition of the service to the community.

The Revd Mark Nelson, shares the aims of the project:

“We hope the project will be lasting and continue to have meaningful impact enabling people to take practical steps to reduce their impact on the environment. There is such needless waste in society so by encouraging people with this small gesture to repair and reuse we hope to empower them to consider the environment more and in turn help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

“We want it to be a Winslow project rather than a church project, a place that builds community and offers a place for local people to meet.”

Mark highlights the unexpected opportunities that have grown from the project:

“It’s been great to see some of the older generation using their practical skills for the repairs, those skills that young people aren’t taught today. So, part of the project involves teaching the owners some of the skills to help them gain confidence to repair the items themselves and change their attitude towards throwing away and buying new products all the time.

“New people are turning up every month so it’s been a great way for those involved in the church to get to know more of our parishioners, especially those who wouldn’t ordinarily step into the church building.”

Responding to the environmental crises facing our planet

Whether your church is just getting started on your environment journey or has been taking action for years, our Environment Team is available to help and advise. 

Since Diocesan Synod declared a climate emergency in March 2020, the Environment Task Group (ETG) is overseeing an ambitious programme of change, and we’re investing over £200,000 over seven years on a carbon footprint reduction programme across our church buildings.

Page last updated: Thursday 5th May 2022 8:55 AM
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