THIS November will mark 25 years since the opening of the Spurriergate Centre – the city-centre hub housed in one of York’s oldest buildings.
Located on Spurriergate, the Christian centre occupies a former church that dates back to the 12th Century and serves as a cafe, fair-trade shop, and provides counselling services to the public.
The anniversary will be celebrated with a service and series of events starting in November.
Richard Staples, Chair of Spurriergate Trustees and also a director of Spurriergate Trading and volunteer at the centre, said: “We’re going to have a big service and rededication of it. We’re getting Graham Cray back, who is now a Bishop, and he’s going to help with that.
“We’re aiming to get 25 events over the course of the year, from November onwards.”
Graham Cray, former vicar of St Michael le Belfrey in Minster Yard, was pivotal in establishing the centre after the building was decommissioned as a church in 1980.
John Ranford, a Trustee, volunteer, and Chairman of Spurriergate Trading, said: “It started as a cafe because 25 years ago there weren’t the outlets on the high street for a tea or coffee – now virtually every shop is a Costa or Starbucks.”
“The notion of the service widened to counselling. The fact that the original vision still holds is really important.”
Mr Ransford also praised the hub as an integral part of York’s community. He said:
“It’s a hub for church activity, but also for people living in York. When people buy their coffee they actually help others with the counselling.”
The centre’s counselling service is provided by the Spurriergate Trust and receives funding from Spurriergate Trading, which operates the centre.
Bob Snowball, 81, from Haxby, who has volunteered at the centre since its beginnings, said: “I came here six months after it opened. I’m a member of St Michael le Belfrey and that’s where many of the volunteers came from at the time.
“It didn’t initially have a counselling service. The Christian listening was there and then we started the counselling. It’s a professional service. We ask for a donation and that’s about all.”
Nancy Gillon, 67, from Burnholme, who has attended the centre on and off for 20 years, said: “They do a lovely cup of tea – every time I come into town I come in and have a cup of tea.”
Anyone with fond memories of the centre can email their stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org