A CHURCH is to begin running a community cafe as part of a new drive to provide more everyday services for the community.

St Luke’s Church, in Canning Crescent, South Oxford, will welcome visitors for tea, coffee and cake at Friday lunchtimes, expanding its morning drop-in sessions.

The Rev Jane Sherwood said it follows a survey of households in the area asking for the service.

She said: “Last year while we were carrying out the work on the church, people said they liked the idea of a community cafe, so we are going to try it out.

“It will also be a good chance for older people to meet together with a hot meal.

“But we are also hoping to launch the cafe with other things which will encourage people to come in and use the building.”

At the beginning of April, St Luke’s reopened after two months of renovation, which cost £500,000.

It saw a number of new facillites added, extending the church and creating space for community groups to meet.

Funding came from several sources, including various trusts, the parish, local people and fundraising events.

At the same time, volunteers surveyed more than 60 people in the area.

Ms Sherwood said the parish wanted to provide more services for people in South Oxford.

Currently the church hosts children’s groups and drop-in coffee sessions, as well as advice clinics for adults.

Ms Sherwood said: “This is the first in a series of trials.

“We have always tried to function as a community centre, and not just a church, so now we have the new building we want to start trying new things.

“There are always a lot of things going on in St Luke’s. We try to reflect the needs of people in the area as much as we can.”

Other services being considered for the future include training courses.

The church has also restarted its “networking lunch” on Thursdays.

It runs from 1-2pm. For more information call 01865 251616.