The Octagon is a community centre situated in the Brook Farm Community of St Andrew’s parish, and is an area that All Saints and St Andrew’s have been actively involved in for many years.
Octagon coffee shop
You can see below a video of the Octagon Coffee shop that the Diocese of Worcester produced for us:
The Octagon Coffee Shop which now meets on Tuesday mornings (10am – 11:45am) was established 20 years ago by volunteers from All Saints and St Andrew’s churches as a community café for and outreach to the Brook Farm Community. The Café provides a warm welcome, acceptance, inclusion and hospitality to a community of over 30 members and drop-in visitors from the local community and beyond. The volunteer serving team are committed to building relationships and developing opportunities for building faith.
Our Coffee Shop mission statement “Growing in love for God, each other, our community and the world” shapes our aim, values and ethos. So each café session always starts with coming together for a Bible reflection and prayers for the café and this has become embedded in the culture of Coffee Shop. There is also a culture of prayer through the prayer station and opportunities for prayer and reflection following national events e.g. Thy Kingdom Come initiative and tragedies e.g. terrorist attack in Manchester.
Throughout the year we have different celebrations on special days – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, Harvest and a Service of Remembrance for loved ones who have died are important highlights in the life of Coffee Shop, providing an opportunity to decorate the Octagon, have special food and a short service including hymns, Bible readings, prayers and a reflection.
The Coffee Shop also has a life group which meets on the first and third Tuesday evenings of each month at the Octagon for a simple Agape meal, sharing life and faith together.
Coffee Shop is an exciting place to be and a church with a difference in the form of a café. We are humbled to be part of God’s mission and amazed at the things that are happening there. If you would like to find out more, pop into Coffee Shop at the Octagon from 10am-11:45am every Tuesday.
Thursday Project meets every week during term time on Thursday afternoons and is run in partnership with the Octagon Committee. Families with children at primary school are invited to come along to the Octagon at 3:30pm for 90 minutes of fun activities and a hot meal. A team of volunteers from St Andrew’s and All Saints along with others from the community, representatives from Platform Housing, Malvern NILS (No interest loan scheme) and the Sunshine Centre join with the families to serve refreshments, help with craft activities and to chat to both adults and the children. Adults are able to visit the Community Pantry (see below) and everyone is served a hot meal, prepared and cooked by some of the volunteers from food delivered earlier in the day by FareShare (see below).
Activities are varied; from planting sun flower seeds, making cards, decorating treasure boxes, celebrating special days – Easter, Christmas, Valentines Day and Mothering Sunday – and are enjoyed by both children and adults alike. It’s a real privilege to be able to share God’s love with the families through our care and attention, listening and chatting, and building relationships over time.
We had a wonderful evening before Christmas with the mums who come to Thursday Project where we made holly wreaths together, enjoyed mince pies and mulled apple juice. Everyone went home with a wreath they could be proud of and it was a very special time.
The Community Pantry is a project run by the Octagon Committee and supported by volunteers from St Andrew’s and All Saints. During the pandemic a number of food projects took place at the Octagon, starting with emergency food parcels, cook and eat projects where families collected a bag of ingredients and a recipe card each week to cook at home and cooking hot meals for families through the summer holidays. From this the Community Pantry was born, there was a real need for extra support for families and individuals in the local community, to help stretch their budgets and also to encourage a more diverse diet. The Community Pantry is open on Friday mornings from 9:30 – 11am and is open to anyone, currently supporting around 40 families each week. People are able to choose a specified number of items from the fridge, freezer and pantry and also a bagful of ‘free’ items (usually fruit, vegetables, bread and a variety of other items) for a donation of £2 each week. Families who come to Thursday Project are also able to use the pantry.
Where does the food come from? Each week on Thursday mornings there is a delivery from FareShare of around 180kg food which usually includes fresh meat, vegetables and fruit, bread, yoghurts and many other products, sometimes with quite short use by/best before dates. FareShare takes surplus food from right across the food industry and aims to tackle food poverty and reduce food waste by distributing it to charities and community projects across the country. The Community Pantry also receives food donations from Malvern Morrisons supermarket each week; usually fresh fruit, vegetables, tins and packets.