Caring Wigan venue holds open day

The Queen’s Hall in Wigan has long provided locals with an inviting place to socialise and bring the community together.

But now an open day is to be held at the Market Street premises on Monday July 11, beginning at noon, to celebrate the name change of the cafe.

Formerly in a small room within the mission, the cafe was halted during the pandemic.

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Upon re-opening it was decided that moving into the church would be more appropriate for social distancing, helping customers to feel more comfortable.

A group of volunteers at the soon to be known as Sanctuary CafeA group of volunteers at the soon to be known as Sanctuary Cafe
A group of volunteers at the soon to be known as Sanctuary Cafe
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The cafe is operated by a group of volunteers who aim to provide a safe haven for anyone who attends by allowing them to open up and socialise with those in the community, many of who lost loved ones during the pandemic.

This inspired the name change to the Sanctuary where people can relax and seek any help they may need to promote their well-being. The cafe is open every weekday from 10am to 1pm.

Those who have benefitted from this service include the homeless who are provided with food at the cafe and directed to The Brick where they can access more appropriate support. The cafe is planning to develop a rota for a listening ear to be available every day, as currently staff do not have a chance to do this during busy periods.

Regular customers enjoying breakfast at the CafeRegular customers enjoying breakfast at the Cafe
Regular customers enjoying breakfast at the Cafe
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A recent success story is Raman, who moved from Sri Lanka. He has recently been granted leave to stay after volunteering at the cafe for seven years. He is now working at McDonald’s and has permanent accommodation in Leigh with his wife and teenage daughter. He still goes down to the Queen’s Hall before starting work to help out if needed.

Additionally there are a range of groups on at the Queen’s Hall throughout the week with job centre courses and Adult Community Education which assist those who wish to obtain a CSCS card and begin working.

Hall manager Janet Williams said: “This is already a superb place within the community and there’s potential for it to get so much better.

"Volunteers are always welcome and there is plenty of rooms and timeslots available for more groups to use our facility.”