The Parish of Sandal Magna

The Parish of Sandal Magna
St. Helen's and St. Paul's Church
Serving Sandal, Walton and Portobello in Wakefield UK.



The Story of The Spring


The Spring has brought new life into the community by providing a welcoming presence on the Barnsley Road next to the Post Office. Built in 1955 as St Helen's Parochial Hall, and used for many years by the Scouts, the Mustard Seed Youth Group, theatrical productions and much more, the hall had been closed for ten years gathering dust, ready to be sold to raise funds. Where I was a Curate In the parish of St Peter's Yateley, in North Hampshire, Wendy the Vicar's wife had been running a very successful charity shop called Discoveries, and in the Church itself there was a Coffee shop called Oasis. We decided simply to put the two together to make up The Spring, even keeping the names. As our first major faith venture £120,000 seemed a lot to find, but with generous giving, fund-raising and a Diocesan loan, along with the expertise of Ron Young and David Littlewood, the building was renewed and re-opened on the 9th September, 1997.

It has flourished for the last 20 years with the dedication and enthusiasm of many people. Special mention should be made of Terry Hollands and Joan Witts who managed the cafe and the shop alongside Audrey Pitchforth for many years. There are some such as Betty Littlewood who have served for the whole 20 years.

In 2009 we began a project to remove the stage and refurbish the building with a new kitchen and counter, and new shop-fittings. Enlarged and better equipped, The Spring has continued to grow under the management of Catherine Moxham, with her amazing team of Joan Witts, Jane Driver, Sue Haller, Sue Holleran, Margaret Wilson, Jackie Gabriel and Jean Watts. It is a regular haven for many from the surrounding areas of Sandal, Agbrigg and Portobello, as well as further afield, providing spiritual and physical nourishment, companionship, prayer and practical goods.
Alongside a small team of staff, dozens of volunteers keep the Spring going with their cheerful hard work. It has also become a place for young people and those with learning difficulties to experience a working environment. The Spring is indeed ‘the smile on the face of the Church’, because it embodies the principles of welcome, prayer, hospitality and generosity which lie at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ whom we serve.

To begin with The Spring contributed to various projects in the Parish, and over the last five years has supported, the work of Christians Against Poverty, bringing relief to those struggling with debt, unemployment and life’s problems. Each year The Spring gives £6,000 to CAP and raises £1,500 through the twice yearly Fashion shows. Through our monthly drinks donation scheme, a further £5,000 is raised for local and national charities.

Comments on The Spring from parishioners

What do you most like about serving at or visiting The Spring?
The Spring offers a special environment of ‘care’. It presents the Christian ethos to all who walk through its doors and it has gained this reputation far beyond the Wakefield area.

The welcome, the loving care of all who serve there, the friendship, the food, the book shop and jigsaws, good value clothes, great coffee (and cakes!).

The welcoming and friendly feeling one gets from being there and the delicious fair priced meals provided. Wonderful.

I loved serving, and was sad when I had to stop. The feeling of ‘being there’ and able to help. Love permeates this very safe place.

There is always a welcome. The hall is sunny and bright, the food delicious, fresh and good value for money. I love serving in the cafe, meeting people and it gives me an opportunity to repay some of the support I have received from St. Helen’s over the last 15 years.

The variety of people one meets there. A willingness to talk and share their experiences. Also the ability to listen. Remembering the opening and seeing it develop over the years, and the people who have served faithfully in many capacities, building for the future.

I like both serving and visiting The Spring because of the people who work and visit there- their friendly and happy faces.

I buy books and toys for my grandchild from the good value shop. The friendly atmosphere, and it doesn’t smell of old clothes!! Friendly, inclusive atmosphere.

Delicious cakes, excellent, good quality food- real value for money. Christian ethos in every day life shines through.

Warm welcome, strong welcome- the role models of focus and hard work, and dedicated serving. Catherine’s humour and the tone she creates in the environment. Quality refreshments.
The friendliness of the staff who always have time to chat.

A bacon sandwich and a pot of tea!



Do you have a story of someone being helped at The Spring or a story of something heart warming happening here?

For many people, life would be empty and dark without this local facility. Loneliness can be difficult to overcome- The Spring is part of the prescription to deal with it.

Raises much needed funds for CAP (Christians Against Poverty).

I think many people are helped to ‘come out of their shell’ because of the gentle welcome.

There have been many. Excellent care of sick people and disabled.

The Spring was a restful oasis at lunchtime when I was a teacher at St. Thomas a Beckets. It helped me recharge my batteries.

My grandchildren and family love to come to The Spring when they visit us.

I think The Spring has been of immense help and comfort to Linda who we pray for everyday in her terminal illness. We all love her. It has also helped me personally.

Seems to be a key centre for charity work in the parish and therefore helps innumerable people.
It has been a place to meet up with friends old and new, and there has been lots of heartwarming moments.

My mum had a fall on her way to the Post Office. She was shaken up and didn't know what to do. She went into The Spring and they got her a chair and chatted to her until she felt better.

A friend’s son volunteers there and this has been a very rewarding experience because he has a disability (but a lovely personality).

When someone new comes in and says how heart warming and welcoming it is.

It didn't feel good at the time because I was in a dark place and couldn't hear the message. But the ladies sat with me in my brokenness and one in particular shared her story with me. I struggled to hear the truth of that at the time but in subsequent years I have felt its blessing- tough love. And we have spoken many times since. Thank you.

Donation to the Amelia Quadear Fund. Thank you on her behalf. Impressed by the care of the groups which meet there.

Have seen many gentlemen there on their own who seem very glad to be there.

Nothing outstanding when I have been but heard of many people being helped.

The stories of people being helped by Christians against Poverty. Seeing families meeting up there, all generations.

I don’t have any particular story but I knew friends who visit it and comment on the different atmosphere.




What has been your favourite event at The Spring and why?

Just to walk in and absorb the generosity of spirit.

Special events such as themed meals and music. Also events which include prayers together.

I have loved being part of the fashion shows.

The fashion shows because they are such happy occasions and bring helpers and customers all together.
When I have food. It’s the best in Wakefield.
An African Evening when George Obiero was our Care Force volunteer. I was helping serve and wash up. Great atmosphere, music and food.

The 15th anniversary event a few years ago. I took my great niece and she enjoyed it.
Eating cake!! Seriously- the fashion show.
A small child in a pram laughing with me and still running to meet me now he is about to go to school.
Every event is good, especially the fashion show.

The Alpha course is always life-changing. Mind you, the Marriage Course was quite life changing too.

Shopping with my husband in the men's section!! A CAP event when Ed and Mark played music. Knit and Natter meeting on Thursdays.

A 90th birthday party. Fashion shows.

The Christmas Day lunches for all those who would otherwise be on their own.

All the events are special but must mention the fashion shows and the special days to help various charities.

The Valentine’s Day Dinners and dances. The Caribbean evening.

The Blues Brothers night.

When able to get there I really enjoy Knit and Natter led by Viv Buckley. The ladies who attend are not all church goers but they really support each other.




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Registered Charity Number 1131795.
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