As many of you know a recent fire in a corridor in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital spread to the Verandah Café and damaged the pantry and kitchen. Luckily nobody was hurt. It is assumed that a cigarette end tossed in the litter bin caused the fire which then spread into the café area.
Anyway, the good news is that the hospital has agreed to repair the damage and we hope to reopen in a couple of weeks time.
However, we have a problem at St Cuthbert’s. When I took over from Catherine Smith ten years ago we had a list of about 14 volunteers, meaning that most of us signed up for one afternoon every five or six weeks. Now I have only about six regular volunteers on the rota: others have understandably resigned due to ill heath, age and family and other commitments.
I cannot continue to manage the rota without more volunteers – I would like a minimum of ten people prepared to sign up once every five weeks to keep the café going on a Thursday afternoon (more would be even better to cover holiday periods etc). The work is not arduous. All we do is bring in bought cakes (no baking required) serve tea and coffee and chat informally to those customers who want to talk. Every year we donate £10,000 from our profits to the wards to fund a huge range of projects from adult literacy classes and breakfast clubs in the community, to buying art materials and paying for outings. Staff organising such activities have told us that without our help they could not offer patients these opportunities, given the shortage of money in the NHS.
This is a good example of practical Christian outreach and has been provided by our church for over 40 years. Unless more people are willing to give up one afternoon a week every five weeks to help this service may have to be withdrawn.
Please think about it and talk to me or to Nicki after church one Sunday. Hilary Pritchard.