Pomphlett Methodist Church in Plymouth has been around for over a century and is the quintessential community hub.
As well as providing a thriving and popular place of worship, the Church is home to an extensive array of clubs, societies and activities serving the neighbouring community.
All ages are catered for with a babies and toddlers group, tea dances, line dancing group, a film club, bible study groups, karate, Bacon Butty mornings and much more.
Bert Symons is Church Secretary (and the provider of Bert’s Bacon Butties) and, together with other members of the leadership team, the driving force behind an important community resource.
“It’s not just a church,” says Bert. “We run many events and clubs ourselves and hire out the two halls, so there’s always something going on. We really do see the church as a community building, alongside its primary purpose as a place of Christian worship.”
One of the activities offered is a senior citizens’ computer club, which runs every Wednesday morning and has been going for six years. Bert and his wife run the club which is attended by around 15 or 16 regular ‘silver surfers’.
Some don’t have computers at home when they begin but are soon converted. With so much bill-paying and official business taking place online these days, being able to use computers is an increasingly important skill for all ages.
“We call it the ‘pensioners’ playground’,” adds Bert. “Most of those taking part are over 70 and one of our regulars is 85. We’re not IT professionals but everyone learns and has fun. It makes a real difference to people when they can use computers and the internet.”
The Church has been with the Phone Co-op for several months, and the computer club certainly makes use of the broadband services offered.
Bert admits there were a few teething issues when broadband was first installed, with the church requiring a post box and postal address of its own, which it didn’t previously have.
The Phone Co-op’s ethical and community ethos is paying off for the Church.
“The Phone Co-op customer service people were as helpful as they could possibly be,” says Bert. “And the package we have with them is very cost-effective. Other providers would have charged us twice as much for a business contract.”