A Norwich church’s revolution of kindness, called 1000 Hours, has been making its mark across the city and county during the 40 days of Lent with a total of almost 1800 hours clocked up.
Gateway Vineyard Church was hoping its members and supporters could rack up at least 1000 hours of voluntary work and acts of kindness towards other people during the six weeks of Lent, but it reached almost double that at 1761 hours.
One of the biggest acts of kindness was giving away around 3,000 bars of chocolate, fruit and snacks to staff at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital as tokens of appreciation for their hard work.
Marc Lillystone, from Gateway, said: “Within 50 minutes of arriving we had run out of the first 1000 items with queues down the corridor and had to send out for more supplies from local supermarkets. We had such a great welcome and people really appreciated the thought and the chocolate.”
Other acts of kindness included baking cakes and brownies for hairdressers and school pupils. Josie and Esther Baker gave away an impressive 196 cakes to the pupils and parents of Cawston Primary School. Josie said: “We had so much fun giving away cakes. People were amazed that we weren’t charging for them. It’s was great to be able to tell them that we just wanted to bless them as God loves them.”
Chocolates have been given out to stewards at Carrow Road, to bin men, care home workers, and to the crew on a Ryanair flight from Alicante to Heathrow.
Church member, Sue Hatherly said: “You can’t imagine the crew’s response. The flight attendant’s face lit up and she kept thanking me, saying they’d been up since 2am and this was just what they needed! I even got a thank-you from the captain.”
1000 Hours volunteers have been cleaning road signs in Thorpe Hamlet and preparing school snacks in Hellesdon.
Big Issue sellers and the homeless in Norwich have benefitted from a sandwich, a hot drink and a chat every Saturday and Sunday thanks to the Gateway Vineyard Soup Run team.
Bags and bags of litter have been picked up from beaches, schools, villages and city streets and family fun days at the Trowse Sports Hall and Poringland Play Barn were also offered for free to local families.
Church pastor, Hannah Deal, said: “We believe that simple acts of kindness will send ripples across our city and county. We hope that in big ways and small we have been able to show God’s love and kindness to people.
“To see so many people contributing to 1000 hours with such creativity and generosity of heart and time was awesome to see. We were overwhelmed by the reaction to the many acts of kindness during the 1000 Hours project and the difference simple acts can make.”
Pictured top are 1000 Hours volunteers giving out thousands of chocolate bars at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital and, below, litter picking on Overstrand beach.