Sunderland Minster set for meal times thanks to newly kitted out kitchen

A team can now cook up a storm thanks to a kitchen refit which will ensure people will not go hungry at Sunderland Minster.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 3:00 pm
The new servery at Sunderland Minster was blessed during a special service.

Freemasons in Sunderland heard about the work done by the church during school holidays to keep children entertained, but were struggling to make up to 160 meals due to a lack of facilities.

Hot plates, boilers, kettles and flasks were being used, with some dishes prepared overnight and taken in, while the cafe at the venue was not suitable to use for cooking for the group.

Paul Paterson, Durham's Provincial Grand Master, Master Norman Eric Heaviside, Robin Middleton, Bishop of Durham Paul Butler, Dr Norman Taylor, John Watts Durham Benevolence Chairman and the Venerable Stuart Bain.

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Members of the Durham Benevolence, the charitable arm of the Province of Durham Freemasons, which covers Sunderland, heard about the difficulties and decided to tap into its funds to help.

It gifted £25,800 to help fund the initial design and building costs for the revamped Vestry Servery to include ovens and other kit, with the age of the building posing extra difficulties.

When a final quote of £34,000 was drawn up by contractors, the gap in the funding was made up with the help of The Sir John Priestman Trust.

Now the work is complete and the kitchen up and running.

Paul Paterson, Durham's Provincial Grand Master, Master Norman Eric Heaviside, Robin Middleton, Bishop of Durham Paul Butler, Dr Norman Taylor, John Watts Durham Benevolence Chairman and the Venerable Stuart Bain.

The project is just one of several backed by the Freemasons as it donated £100,000 to good causes to mark the Tercentenary Year of English Freemasonry.

The kitchen area was officially launched at a special service, which saw it blessed by the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler.

The event was also attended by reverend Fiona Collins, of the National Members of the Church of England, which is responsible for maintaining religious buildings, trustees of the Sir John Priestman Trust, the Provincial Grand Master of Durham, the chairman of Durham Benevolence, Durham Benevolence general purposes committee members, Worshipful Masters of all Sunderland Lodges, Sunderland brethren, councillors and the area’s MP, and Susan Winfield BE, the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear.

The Venerable Stuart Bain, the interim Canon Provost at the minster, said: “We are really grateful for the support to complete the new servery.

“This is a great addition to the ministry of welcome and care which we seek to offer at Sunderland Minster.

“The current kitchen facilities are not available to church volunteers as it a commercial kitchen.”

The group of Freemasons took in 80 applications for the £100,000 set aside to help good causes during 2017.

Nine in total were granted funds, with the minster presented with the largest sum.

A focus was given to organisations which involve children in their Province, the old Palatinate of County Durham.

The others to benefit included the Cheesy Waffles Youth Project in Belmont with £10,000, County Durham with £10,000 and Heel & Toe Children’s Charity, which helps youngsters with mobility problems across the North East with £10,000.