Bude Methodist Church

A Lego café that sees a hundred youngsters and families play with the famous plastic bricks and learn about themselves and each other.

Building lives with Lego

The congregation at Bude Methodist Church are building up their local community – one Lego brick at a time.

Deacon Debbie Marsh admits to having ‘a bit of an obsession’ with the brightly-coloured blocks – and she has turned it into an amazing plus for the people of the Cornish holiday town.

‘I didn’t play with toys much when I was a child,’ said Debbie. ‘I had a bit of a troubled and misspent youth, and I missed out on that sort of thing, which may be why I developed my obsession in later life!

‘There’s something about it that I love, and I had a vision in my head of families sitting together, building things out of Lego and building their relationships at the same time. You can’t be sitting there staring at your phone while you’re creating something – you have to involve yourself with your kids.

‘I thought maybe we could start a Lego café, with coffee and cake and biscuits on offer, too, but it’s extremely expensive so we put out a “Lego in the Loft” appeal for people to get up in their attics, their cupboards under the stairs, and let us have their old boxes and bags from years gone by.

‘We had a great response, and when we opened for the first time we had people queuing outside. It’s just grown from there – we’ve had over a hundred children in on a given day, with their parents and carers, and it’s amazing to see.

‘Our motto is “All Are Welcome” – the idea was to bring in people from every part of the community. We attract a lot of families who are struggling financially, because we’ve managed to keep it free-of-charge, and many struggle with their mental health, and emotional and finance issues. It’s a great opportunity to listen to life stories and signpost people to further help.

‘We’ve found that mums and dads particularly will sit building with Lego, and then gradually will open up to the team about what’s going on in their life.’

The award money will help provide tables and more Lego, and to enable the café to remain free.

‘We’re slightly victims of our own success,’ said Debbie. ‘A hundred or more people need an awful lot of Lego when you’re running a “build the highest tower” competition, so winning the award was an absolute Godsend.’

PC screen showing church fundraising