A COMMUNITY centre that's been at the heart of York for more than 30 years is determined to continue its work after the lockdown.

Run by the St Michael’s Trust York, the Spurriergate Centre in a former church in Coney Street provides, under normal circumstances, a highly regarded counselling service which takes GP referrals as well as individual requests for support.

Before the Coronavirus crisis, the centre also ran a “pay as you feel” café which offers hospitality, support and free groceries to those struggling to make ends meet.

During the COVID 19 self-isolation, the centre has temporarily closed, the 20 volunteers stood down and the three part-time members of staff have been furloughed.

Chairman of trustees, Richard Staples, said that those who use the centre will be largely self-isolating; many are lonely at the best of times and will be missing the care they usually get from the centre as well as the cheerful cuppa and cake.

He said, the counselling service has become a telephone service and trustees have sought ways of making sure when restrictions are lifted the centre can be there to offer help once again to those who are vulnerable and in need of care and support.

Mr Staples said: "Finances for such projects are always tight – losing the giving at the counter is a big hit for the Trust to take. However, trustees, staff and volunteers are determined the centre will reopen. We enjoy great support from our staff and volunteers as well as those who see Spurriergate as an oasis of love, care and hospitality in an otherwise harsh and lonely world. We see our place on the High Street in York as a display of God’s love for everyone in York, a window onto God’s Kingdom.”

"In normal days Spurriergate hosts KEY providing food for homeless people, Friends International supporting foreign students with friendship and company. While the nation fights the Coronavirus, the centre rests till it can open again to offer welcome. Trustees need to source fresh funding so that hospitality, counselling and support can be real."