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Belonging

Simon Jenkins is concerned about the progressive loss of churches. He is most concerned about the buildings, their history and social significance rather than the loss of faith, so he searches for alternative uses. Amongst these he wonders about their prospects as banks, pubs and post-offices Churches could double as banks, or even serve beer. We can’t leave them empty | Simon Jenkins | The Guardian


There are layers to his reflections on the importance of church buildings to the identity of individuals and localities- spiritual, historical, sociological.


Having a place to go to, to be with people of like-mind or like-need has been important to us. I remember Donald Dick in his years as Director of the Health Advisory Service expounding on the virtues of Day Hospitals – somewhere nearby where people had shared knowledge – employment, education, childcare, dances, romances – a change from being at home and a source of more gossip as well as understanding and therapy. Optimum catchment, he would say, was similar to a local Boots the Chemist. I am not sure about the distribution of Boots these days. We are certainly pleased to have one in Altrincham. It still serves as a local hub for support and advice from staff who learn our names and speak to us as friends.


Day Hospitals have all-but disappeared. Day Centres are less evident, less enduring and are dependent on charities or independent agencies where they do exist.

I hold my schools, training hospital, universities, youth club, churches – as places of worship and the fellowship within them - our park and its Friends Group, all in great affection. They are set in context with the homes from which I visited them – in Wolverhampton, London, The Isle of Wight, Jersey, North Wales, Manchester, Sale and Altrincham.