Holsworthy Methodist Church
Holsworthy MC is a traditional market town church with its main links deeply rooted in the farming community. The
congregation and people it traditionally serves reflect this. The town itself has a newly built “Farmers Market” which
is served by an ecumenically funded Rural Lay Worker who manages a team of pastoral market chaplains including
the local superintendent minister.
We have been building on some of the established events targeting those who may struggle with loneliness or isolation. Since 2013 we have been providing regular events which have included a careers group, Sunday roast lunches and in 2013 our first Christmas day roast dinner.
Over the last couple of years newly built affordable/social housing has seen an influx of young families moving in
from cities across the UK. These families have no links to the farming community or come from rural backgrounds
and are typically moved as part of the UK’s growing county council’s commoditisation of trading in people on social housing. Many have complex needs for which the town is ill prepared to cater for.
A small group from Holsworthy MC has been engaging with these young families providing weekly clubs as a way of
getting to know each other. The response to date has been extremely positive and we are regularly working with 35
young people and 12 adults. Although this is still very much in its infancy stages we are keen to develop new ways to strengthen and possibly grow this new community within the church.
Alongside this new work we have also been researching the needs of the community within Holsworthy, especially
following the continued reduction in services driven by government agency cuts. While the popular image of a Devon
town is typically based on holiday picture post cards, the reality faced by Holsworthy is anything but that.
Unemployment, low income, mental health and depression, isolation and loneliness, poor facilities like transport are
some of the key issues many within the town have to face on a daily basis and these issues put a huge burden on the towns infrastructure, especially the medical centre.
Our small group has been looking at where the gaps are in service provision, understanding the need and action
required, and have identified support specialists from key towns like Barnstaple who would be prepared to partner us
in establishing new projects.
Recognising that the current facilities within the church building restrict our ability to serve more widely the
community, we are seriously looking at refurbishing the community space within the church building to create a new, contemporary, fit for purpose place that will be inclusive to a much wider group of people within our community. Our aim is to have a single level place that all people will be able to travel across and that have all the facilities open to them that they would require.