AN initiative which supports and feeds vulnerable people in Wellington and Rockwell Green has been boosted by a donation from housing developer Persimmon Homes South West.

The company presented a £2,000 cheque to Wellington Baptist Church after it applied to the builder’s community champions scheme.

The church holds a Wellington Warm Place every Thursday which is open to anybody who may be struggling financially, or with mental health issues, or loneliness.

It offers a safe and warm place for people and families to come together, share a meal, and support each other.

People who go along can have two free hot meals in the winter months, and one at other times of the year, as well additional free food and groceries.

The Warm Place has been operating since October, 2022, and throughout has been supported financially by Wellington Town Council.

New sources of funding such as Persimmon’s grant are being used to update the premises to keep up with demand for the programme.

The money will go toward upgrading toilets in the church hall.

Fund-raising activities, including a harvest supper and auction, a Christmas concert, a Sunday roast lunch, Christmas dinner for senior ladies, and a high tea for senior ladies, have already helped the church to raise nearly £3,500.

Further events are planned, including a spring fayre.

Persimmon’s community champions scheme sees more than £700,000 donated to good causes and much-valued organisations across Britain every year.

Other recent local recipients have included Uffculme School and St John’s Ambulance Taunton. 

Persimmon Homes South West sales director Stacey Harris said: “Our community champions scheme is there to support excellent initiatives and organisations like the Wellington Warm Place programme hosted by the Baptist church, so we were delighted to be able to help them in a very competitive quarter for applications.

“It is clear the Warm Place is highly regarded by the local community and plays an incredibly important role in the area and we are delighted that our donation will help the church deliver their programme for vulnerable people here.”

Baptist church minister the Rev Sam Griffiths said: “The Warm Place is essential to our community, described as a life-saver, a reason to get out of bed, an opportunity to socialise with other people, so we are very grateful to Persimmon for their support.

“We have over 40 guests every week, serving a variety of people from all walks of life but who are not in a good place when they visit, making it important that we are able to cater to them as best as possible.

“These funds from Persimmon will make it much easier for us to do this, particularly with improved facilities, which means we can hopefully expand our offering in Wellington for those that need our support.”

The Warm Place, which is staffed by volunteers, is now switching to its spring and summer timetable, where it opens from 11.30 am to 2 pm until October, when it reverts to winter timings of 9.30 am to 7 pm.