WOKINGHAM TOWN has its own chaplain to provide a listening ear to the community.
The Revd Judi Hattaway, of Churches Together Wokingham and part of the ministry team of St Paul’s Church, is walking around the town each week, dropping into shops and cafes to get to know the workforce.
With a background in chaplaincy and currently serving as the mayor’s chaplain, Mrs Hattaway is now here to support the community too.
Cllr Tony Lack, Wokingham town mayor said he is delighted about the scheme.
“After her first visit, Judi told me that she was very well received by everyone and they really appreciated the time she was offering.
“If you see Judi while out and about, do stop to say hello, I know she will be happy to share her time and her listening ear.”
Churches Together Wokingham said it recognises that the pandemic and successive lockdowns have been “incredibly stressful for everyone in many different ways”.
If, in her conversations, Mrs Hattaway finds that residents need further help, she will be signposting to Citizens Advice Wokingham or more pastoral support.
“Judi is a trained counsellor and would be alert to the situation and know where to refer onto,” a spokesperson from Wokingham Town Council said.
“Churches Together Wokingham has done a great job of supporting the foodbank over many months, and it is envisaged that this new initiative will be further outreach from the team of clergy and laity to help those in our town, working in partnership with the civic authorities.”
In the long term, the town council hopes Mrs Hattaway will grow a team who will provide this outreach service over the next months.