Help wanted to clean up city centre church

Bruce Crowther at St John's Church in Lancaster where he is setting up the Fig Tree, formally situated in Garstang
Bruce Crowther at St John's Church in Lancaster where he is setting up the Fig Tree, formally situated in Garstang
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Volunteers are needed to help restore and clean up St John’s Church in Lancaster ahead of the open day for the new FIG Tree @ St. John’s International Fair Trade Centre on Saturday March 7.

In collaboration with the Churches Conservation Trust, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster University Students Union and Lancaster District Community & Voluntary Solutions (LDCVS), The FIG Tree Centre has arranged for volunteers to carry out initial restoration work inside the church and tidy up the church yard starting at 10am on Wednesday February 25.

Bruce Crowther, executive director of The FIG Tree, said, “The support from volunteers was paramount to the enormous success of The FIG Tree while in Garstang and now we look to volunteers in and around Lancaster to ensure that success is continued in its new home at St John’s Church.”

The FIG Tree moved from its original home of Garstang - the world’s first Fair Trade Town - after the expiry of its lease with Wyre Borough Council in November 2014.

Following talks with the Churches Conservation Trust, the centre has now relocated to St John’s.

The Grade II* Georgian church, built in 1754 at the height of Lancaster’s involvement in the slave trade, is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust which plan to invest in the building to bring it back to its former glory. The centre will continue to house its Heritage Lottery Funded exhibition on fair trade and Fair Trade Towns and the British Transatlantic slave trade and its abolition as well as a cafe and a gift shop selling fair trade and local products. The exhibition was on loan to Keswick Museum and Art Gallery for eight weeks while The FIG Tree made its move. Education and learning activities will also be on offer at The FIG Tree, with plans to attract UK and international tourists to Lancaster.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Mark Waddington at markwaddington@lancastercvs.org.uk.