In September 2007, we opened the doors to ‘The Lighthouse’, which seeks to provide a safe haven for anyone who may find themselves in a vulnerable position when on a night out in Canterbury.
We open our church hall to pubbers and clubbers every Wednesday night, during academic term time, from midnight to 3am, serving free tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and toast to help sober up people. We provide a safe, warm place, where individuals can find help and a friendly face in an hour of need.
A number of volunteers from Canterbury Christ Church University help to run the project, and we have received incredible support from Canterbury City Council, the Canterbury Police, local schools and universities, the local media, and other charitable organisations. We are delighted to have been recognised and nominated for the Kent Volunteer Awards 2008, and to be part of the Canterbury Community Safety Partnership Partnership Plan 2011-2014.
It is fairly evident that we are living in binge-drinking culture, where individuals are drinking much more than the recommended amount in one sitting. When we look to our newspaper articles and television news reports, the statistics are quite staggering as to how dangerous binge-drinking culture is. It affects our health, leads to suicide, rape, unwanted pregnancies, and is a huge strain on our emergency services!
Experiences and stories such as the following are all too commonplace:
"In late 2000 a classmate of mine, called Nick Green, went missing having been out to celebrate his 17th birthday in the city of Norwich, Norfolk. I still remember the eerie atmosphere of a usually bustling common room, and the despair when his body was eventually found in a nearby river."
Such personal experiences and the knowledge of successful projects, such as Norwich’ ‘SOS Bus Project’, Hereford Baptist Church’s ‘Nightshift’, and the Street Pastors Scheme, have inspired the opening of our own night project - 'The Lighthouse Project'.
While it would prove to be extremely difficult to entirely stop the problem of binge-drinking and every incident related to it, it is our strong belief that by being Christ in the community the Church can reach out with an arm of love and grace to those who find themselves vulnerable on a night out. Maybe lives can be saved, whether physical or spiritual. We are called by Christ to ‘let our light shine before men’ ; there is no doubt that this is a dark culture that certainly needs the light of God in it.
Contact / Getting Involved / More Info
Please do pray for the project and its future development. If you wish to receive any further information, or indeed wish to volunteer, please do Contact us online, by email: lighthouse(at)canterburybaptistchurch.org.uk or find us on facebook