Break-ins at St. Francis, Strood bring community together

A spate of vandalism at the church hall of St. Francis of Assisi, Strood has seen the community rally round.

The hall is home to many activities, including a popular weekly Place of Welcome cafe.

So, after discovering the hall had been broken into and damaged for a fourth time in only 10 days, vicar Rev Sharon Copestake, took to social media.

The response that came next was overwhelming.

"Nearly 30 people from the community, including members of the congregation, came to help clear-up."

Volunteers cut away overgrowth from around the hall to help improve visability and ensure potential vandals have nowhere to hide.

Sharon says there have also been offers of help from local businesses:

"Scallywags Nursery in Rainham has given us some paint and equipment to restore the exterior paintwork. We have had some success with a Just Giving page - raising almost £450 so far and we've received £500 from Terry Allen Funerals."

All of the money donated will be put towards significant security improvements at the hall.

The support coincides with new investment that was already underway into the church building itself, thanks to some grant funding through the Diocese, aiming to help the church extend its work in the community.

Sharon says it is an amazing testament to the strength of the community in Strood that so many have been able and willing to offer help. 

"As a Church we are really grateful for the support. St Francis Church is here for all the community, irrespective of age or belief, and keeping the Church Hall open for the community to use for different groups and events remains an important part of our mission to serve the people of the parish.

"Keeping the site secure goes a long way to ensuring this resource stays available, and so while it has been a tricky few weeks, some good has already come out of it."

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