Your Community Voice

So, by now as you have been scrolling through our pages you will have heard from us about: who we are and what we’re about. Our thoughts on how we support the community.


And, we like to go with a proverb many people know.

‘Two heads are better one.’

In this case…there are a lot of heads. Many people come to our weekly activities. Some have been attending and helping in the SSNC since its inception. Many people volunteer to keep our weekly community sessions afloat for those local to Hull and in the surrounding areas. 

We value the opinions of people that use and support our local services. The ones who have come and gone – Our door is always open to you. (Within opening hours of course, we’re only human.) We value those who have been coming through our doors for a short while and those who have been coming through since the SSNC took over the lease of the old church building back in 2002/2003. In fact, there are a few people who attend the weekly ‘Thursday Lunch Club’ in particular, who have been coming since the organisation set up and when the church building was used for its original purpose.

We wanted to know why they’ve been coming all this time. What makes the SSNC important in their lives? Other people who attend Greatfield’s ‘Thursday Lunch Club’ were also asked why they come, and what it is that they ‘get out’ of being part of the activities put on by SSNC.

Their stories are below.

There were some stories that we could not get for reasons that pertain to GDPR as SSNC legally do not have documentation for some users assessments. So in the interest of keeping with our ethos we have not interviewed such persons. We can tell you that a couple groups from another local organisation attend the weekly ‘Thursday Lunch Club’. They always bring smiles and happiness with them, as do the people supporting them to attend the activities here. They are a lively and wonderful bunch and spread their palpable joy. Especially to those that attend from the older generation who see, that in part, community spirit that they fear is fading still lives on. Everyone comes to together at the end of some of the ‘Thursday Lunch club’ gatherings each week engaging with the Bingo after and/or a quiz. (Which, we’d just like to highlight that the ladies our interviewee was grouped with on attending the second time round – won the quiz!) Sometimes there is a prize for winning, other times the takeaway for most people is the sheer enjoyment in sharing in one another’s lives.

The first time attending our resident interviewee sat next to a wonderful woman called Rita. She is one of the two women spoken to that has been coming to St Stephen’s for many years. Rita has even been coming prior to the shift in the SSNC taking hold of the lease of the church. She still attends as regularly as she can with the help of Diane from the board of trustee’s with the SSNC.

Rita regaled tales of what the SSNC was like before, and now. As well as a little sprinkling about herself. After all, that was the main reason given why most people come.  As we’ve already highighted, it is to share in each other’s lives.

Just a fraction of people’s stories were recorded down and there is the transcribed conversation below. As follows:



So Rita, lovely to meet you today.


*And you.

How long have you been coming here then, to SSNC? (Rita proceeds to ask around the table, and to some of the people volunteering at the ‘Thursday Lunch Club’ as to how long she has been coming.)


*Donkey’s years.


Would you recommend other people come here from in and around the area?


*Oh definite. Yeah.


Lovely to hear, so what is it about here that draws you in?


*Well, I’ve been coming here for years. Even before, when they held the sermons and services here. There was a lovely atmosphere and there still is. It’s not as busy as it used to be, but I prefer a bit of a quieter going about things these days. The sisters were always lovely, and it brought the whole community together.



(Rita says at this point that she has been coming to the building for over twenty years or more.) Are you local then?


*Yes, I live on Greatfield. And, I go get my hair done every week at the local hairdressers before coming to the lunch club. Usually, one of my children will take me to the hairdresser’s and they check in on me. I’ve got eight children.


(Being an expressive person I give away the surprise at how many children she has.) Wow, that’s a lot. Did you work at all in the area for your community or anything?



*(Laughs.) I’m 94. (Pats me gently on my hand.) Yes, I worked in a care-home, I was an administrator and I was in the WRNS. (Women’s Royal Navy Service)


All that with that many children?


*Yes, people helped out a lot more back then.


(I nod in agreement.) So that’s probably why they help you so much now, your children… you’re quite inspirational.


*(Smiles.) The conversation is cut half-way through. Maria who is sat at our table and who also tells us a little about herself and why she comes – talks about baking some sweets. We are distracted as Rita turns and says that this is why she likes coming. There is some deliberating and confusion as the centre has announced some dates they are closed over the summer period, they wanted to know why they were being asked as of course they would like it if they opened on the other dates. Rita nudges me and says, ‘What a daft question.’


So, what is it like to live nearby the centre?


*Oh it’s a good place to live, really, yeah. There used to be a bigger community spirit though. I was sat one day watching television and a young boy threw a brick at my window. Diane picked me up then, later on in the week y’know,  and said people pay good money to have the windows look like mine did with a shattered effect.


Is it fixed now?


*Yes, yes, it’s fixed now.


Do you think if that young boy knew about the SSNC and other places like it that it would still happen?


*I don’t know. You just don’t know these days. You don’t like to say the wrong thing.


I understand.


*****We discuss how although there are places as wonderfully vibrant as the SSNC that there is a lack of resources channeled into the area and a lack of motivation of some local folk as a result. Domino effect in motion. SSNC likes to tackle that and is the sort of community led place that challenges those ingrained issues. (See the page on their involvement with the Youth Parliament.)*****


What brings you back here every week then that’s brought you back for all these years?


*Kindness, company and the motivation to keep going.


*****Rita says much more than this as you can gather with my shortening down of certain parts of subject matter. But she’d much rather you come to SSNC for yourself to see with your own eyes just how much of a positive impact they make.*****


Next, we spoke to Maria and Joyce and then Joyce herself as people filed out of the building:



Hello there, nice to meet you both what are your names? 

*I’m Maria, and this is Joyce. 

*****Maria proceeds to say that she has a very long name and her mother did not like her. She has brilliant dry humour and this is one of the reasons people enjoy her company.*****

*You don’t believe me, do you?

I shake my head.

*Maria Julianna Rosina Delores Camilla Paulina Dominica 

(We all compare names and Joyce says she is ‘just Joyce’.)

How long have you both been coming to the activities at the ‘SSNC’? 

JOYCE: How long did Rita say? About the same as Rita.

MARIA: Since Christmas 2022. I stopped for a while and then came back to the ‘Thursday Lunch Club’ from around February 2023 onwards. 

What drew you here? How did you find out about the ‘SSNC’?

Through word of mouth. 

*****Many of the people who attend the ‘Thursday Lunch Club’ tell me they have lost loved ones and partners. That they come to the SSNC for the kindness, the generosity, and the company. Maria and Joyce say the same: Company.*****

The generosity speaks volumes. Staff and volunteers go around and give out some of the items from their latest drop of food products from the fareshare scheme.

I ask if they do anything else throughout the week that people might be interested in.

MARIA: Joyce goes to lots of clubs don’t you? I go to the pub on occasion, meals with family and I watch a family member sing at local venues. My daughter advertises him on a vinyl sign on the side of her car. 

What other places do you go to Joyce? 

JOYCE: A quiz once a month, Derby and Joan’s on a Friday, and a ‘Tuesday Lunch Club’ closer to home. 


*****We stop here and Maria leaves. Talking about some more baking she might do – salted caramel shortbread, scrumptious!*****

*****Joyce is waiting for the transport that she gets here each week. She says it costs £10 each time now to use it.*****

So, Joyce, we didn’t get much time to talk before. Would you like to share a bit more?

*(Nods her head and gestures for me to continue.) 

What have you liked over the years coming to the ‘SSNC’ and other places?

*Getting out and seeing people. Enjoyed the line-dancing they used to do in the churches and the house-bands they used to have on. 

And what is the church like near you? 

*It’s good, yes. I haven’t lived there for very long though. I used to live in Hull town centre. you tend to go back to your roots when you think about your life-story with places don’t you? 

Yes, I think you do.

*****I spoke to Joyce about myself being local and she told me something I was not aware of with any history. Online or otherwise about the area we are from. That is without digging a little further…sometimes a lot further. She spoke about the the radio aerial in the villages on the way to Withernsea there during the war. She also spoke about the rations during this time period.*****

So, what jobs did you do at this time then? 

*My first job I was a Junior Clerk in a Timber Merchants, then I was promoted to a senior short-hand typist. 

*****Being the scribe of the above, I mention the shared interest in writing and ask her if she has any tips if you make a mistake.*****



What did you do on those occasions when rushed in your role?

*Well, it was touch-typing so I backed it up, rubbed it out, started again. Sometimes I’d carry on then cross it out later. There was one mistake I made with a mis-communicated letter of address to shop fitters. 

*****Joyce asked that the latter of that statement to not be recorded down. Laughing that I could cross it out and delete it later. As the reader of this, I’ll let you fill in the blanks. Or there again, come to a ‘Thursday Lunch Club’ yourself. See and hear these wonderful people’s stories for yourself.*****


In fact, that’s not all the SSNC do. There are also the many Youth Club activities they do alongside a summer program they have ran for young people over the years. (See the Calendar page for details of past, present and future events.) 

During the summer program we had our interviewee speak with some of our young people about the various trips they went on. East Hull Farm was one of the the first trips they went on,  here’s what they thought: 

What did you think then?

*Loved it, really enjoyed ourselves. 

What was your favourite bit?  

*Seeing the animals, the sheep’s eyes. The one sheep that was there. They were weird though. Like staring black-holes.(All of the children seemed to agree, but it did not phase them and they had a good time regardless.)

Are you doing any of the other activities over the summer? 

*Some, I’m not sure because my mum/dad/grandparents sort that out. 

One child said they were going to Chester Zoo and that this activity was their favourite because they love animals and they love art. They were drawing and painting pictures that they saw the previous day. A couple said they would prefer another activity but still enjoyed themselves. One young lady said she would like to be a chef. SSNC have taken note of the various activities and funding dependent they will try to put on events in the future that they were previously not able to. 

Do any of you come to the youth clubs? 

Lots of yes’.

****Some of the events across the summer program had a mixture of younger and older children. Some of the older children said they prefer coming to the ‘older sessions’ in the Youth Clubs as they enjoy just chilling and socialising. However, they did enjoy some of the more interactive activities. A few of the older children even enjoyed putting on the music at some of the events.****


At some of the events SSNC utilised the free facilities in the surrounding areas, then they returned to base where the young people played games and made various crafts. 



Author: Emma Penfold – Hall, Original write-up:August 2023. Updated and edited by the same author, September 2023.