St Paul’s Centre is focused on innovative and enterprising sustainable services that generate hope and confidence in a future yet to be realised – be it a start-up business, community association or a seeker of new employment. We make opportunities by providing resources, facility development and teaching new skills. Using the process of collecting and redistributing stuff ‘furniture, food and bikes’ we engage with local people looking for change and challenge.
We are, as our vision states, an internal community working together to bring change the community around us. We are a Christian organisation and respond to the world around us out of a profound sense of God goodness.
A community that warmly accepts each person, drawing alongside one another in an authentic expression of Christian concern through which:
- Practical needs are met
- Personal goals are reached
- Partnerships for change are forged
As a Charity, we have been greatly privileged to work with some of the communities finest people. We are appreciative of all their guidance and support. Some of our supporters are corporate bodies, others are self-employed businesses and marketing coaches, all of them have given generously and sacrificially to help make Christian Concern a dynamic net contributor to the community.
They form part of our journey.
- Cheshire East Council
- Crewe Town Council
- Petty Pool College
- Churches Together in Crewe
- Bentley Motors
- ANSA waste services
- Cheshire Furniture Re-Use Forum
- Bumblbee Digital
In the late 80s, three local Christian couples, meeting and praying, had the vision to start collecting furniture to give it to those they knew were in need of it. So they set out with an estate car and some storage space in a garage under the name of ‘Crewe Christian Concern’, but soon grew out of the space they had. At the same time, St Paul’s Church became available as a building as the congregation had dwindled away, mostly due to town planning. They bought the building and in 1988 St Paul’s became the base. The charity kept running, at this point as ‘3C Teamwork’, always with the vision to help those that are on the margins of society. A wood-workshop was added and small meeting room built in the main church building.
When Rob Wykes came on board in 1996, he saw a new vision expressed in the words “Hope, Dignity, Confidence & Opportunity”. The first step was to install a mezzanine floor with a purpose-built conference room upstairs, almost doubling the floor space of the building, but importantly creating space to relate to people and share community. During that time, the work of the charity was refocused and expanded. The referral system was organised and a school uniform re-cycling project added with a fully functioning laundry.
In 2004, another part of the Mezzanine floor was used to build several counselling rooms for the new Kerith Pregnancy Crisis Counselling project. In the same year, we championed the introduction of a system through which we could trace each item of furniture from donor to recipient.
Throughout the years, the number of adults with additional needs has increased, as more and more have become part of our community, or rather, family. Just like our other volunteers, they are involved in office work, on the vans, in the Centre and receive training on computers and in the Workshop.
There is so much more – how did we become known as St Paul’s Centre, start a café build an enterprise centre…?
The story of our journey can be found in our book: Its Not About The Furniture.
Congregational worship at St Paul’s in Crewe ended in the early 1980s, but the building’s beating heart has never stopped across three centuries. Originally constructed by John Ashe, a generous and passionate man, it took another, John McCallum, to give the church new life, and a third, Rob Wykes, to develop a vision that would take St Paul’s Centre to a new level and reach further into the community than ever before.
It’s Not About The Furniture is the story of a charity that brings Hope, Dignity, Confidence and Opportunity to those in need…