Charities set out their stalls at Aberdeen church

An Aberdeen church is helping a wide range of charities recover some of the fundraising income they lost during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Cults Parish Church is hosting a twice-weekly "Summer Market Stalls" initiative and 18 different organisations have signed up to help improve their financial situation to enable them to carry out their core work.

Sheila Foote
Sheila Foote and Ann Swallow

They include ‘We Too', a social enterprise empowering parents and carers of children with additional support needs, ‘Parkinson's UK' which raises awareness about the neurological disease and ‘Christian Aid', which seeks to eradicate extreme poverty.

The event is held every Wednesday and Thursday between 10am-1pm to coincide with the opening of the church's Hub café.

The lead co-ordinator is Dr Stella Anderson who described the North Deeside Road church as "open, welcoming and active" in the community.

"Members think constantly about outreach and the charities have had much fewer opportunities for fundraising and promotion," explained the church elder.

"The church sees an enabling role by inviting organisations to be present outside our cafe in a safe environment under a lovely gazebo donated by members of the congregation."

Community outreach

Dr Anderson said stall holders have loved being seen again and talking to people about what their charity does.

"They found it a great boost to morale and had fun," she added.

"They brought with them their own supporters who mingled with local customers of the cafe, many of whom are church members.

"The customers at the Hub cafe loved browsing the stalls and showed great interest in the charities and enjoyed a change in conversation after the lockdown."

Cults Parish Church
A total of 18 charities have signed up for the "Summer Market Stalls" initiative.

Dr Anderson said the church café was benefiting from new customers.

"The raising of spirits was tangible giving great mental health benefits for all and they now look forward to the next stall," she added.

"It is part of our church outreach to welcome them and gives an opportunity to build friendships and offer support as they return from year to year."

Cults Parish Church usually hosts charities producing strawberry teas every summer but last year's activities were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Minister, Rev Shuna Dicks, said the stalls highlighted the creativity and "can do" attitude of church members.

"They saw a way to continue to support local charities in their fundraising and went with it and I am incredibly proud and grateful to them all," she added.

The "Summer Market Stalls" initiative finishes on the 26th of August.

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