WHAT’S HAPPENING AT COTS?
Having worked in and around Burnley for many years, I have learned that many of the social problems are caused by the breakdown of families. As a Christian pastor, I believe God loves families deeply and has a heart to see them flourish. In reality, sometimes families bring pain, suffering, abuse, and isolation.
Over the previous few months I have been thinking about how we step into the gaps created by broken relationships and dysfunctional families. Through all my thinking I believe God is leading COTS to provide a safe, welcoming space where kids, parents, and grandparents can receive love, support, and care that meet their specific, individual needs. We are now making plans to set up a family centre where single parents receive support, abused children can be listened to, women can find safety, men can find healing, parents can find support, and families can find healing.
Over the next few weeks we will be working with some of our existing partners and some new ones to explore what this family centre looks like. We have already started a weekly women’s group which runs in partnership with Red Rose Recovery. Furthermore, we are aiming to set up mother and baby clinics which will provide baby check ups and breastfeeding support groups and a Women’s Hour to provide free and accessible health check ups specifically for women.
“At the moment we are seeing a need for families to have somewhere safe where they can engage in purposeful activity to empower them to lead a more fulfilled, healthy and happy lives.”
Many people who come into the church are often physically, emotionally, and spiritually broken and are crying out for help. We see this in people who have recently entered into some form of recovery from addiction. In response to this cry for help we are launching the Recovery Academy. The Recovery Academy is a 12 week programme which leads students through the 12 foundations of recovery. Upon graduating we will explore volunteering, study, or work opportunities for each of the students with the hope of finding a purpose for their lives away from substance or alcohol addiction.
Our work in Barnoldswick continues to grow as God leads what we do and when we do it. Loaves & Fishes has settled into a thriving community cafe where people come together and fellowship over a brew. Social Prescribers are now working from the cafe providing advice and support for the people of Barnoldswick. The cafe also hosts prayer meetings, Bible studies and early morning devotionals for anyone who would like to join us.
“An elderly gentleman, who comes in everyday, said the cafe has changed his life, he loves talking to the people he meets and since coming to the cafe has reconnected with God and started reading his Bible.”
We are also starting to see the needs of local communities arising as people share their own personal experiences and stories of the current cost of living crisis. Unfortunately it is the same story we are all hearing, families, single parents and individuals who are struggling to afford the basic necessities of life. We are also seeing the older generation, people who have recently lost their jobs being unable to meet rising costs. We hope and pray that as the family centre in Burnley starts to grow we will in some way be able to stand in the gaps more and more in Barnoldswick.
For nearly 2 years we have been running charity shops in Barnoldswick to financially support Loaves & Fishes. However, we have been finding the rising costs of energy bills increasingly difficult to manage. In response to this we have taken the decision to make some changes. The original charity shop will move into a much larger shop in Barnoldswick and sell furniture and white goods alongside clothing and accessories. The Just for Kids shop will then be able to move into the Church Street shop. The benefits of these changes include less rental and utility costs as we reduce our units from 5 to 2, less time spent managing the units, less transport costs as the storage is next to the new shop. We hope that with these changes we will be able to continue to invest in and serve the people of Barnoldswick.
I continue to thank you all for your continued support, prayers and being involved in the COTS community – it is deeply appreciated and much needed. If you would like to support the work of COTS you can donate using the link below or drop me a message if you have any thoughts. Thank you and God bless, Pastor Mick
Almighty God, we thank you for all the amazing things you have done, are doing, and will do through the work of COTS. We ask for your blessing over all our friends, family, supporters, team, and our amazing volunteers. Help us to trust you in the plans you have for us. In Jesus name, AMEN