A vision that took Antony Slack on to the streets to help the disadvantaged has brought him to Spalding.
Antony – or Pastor Antony Slack – and his wife Rachel have taken over the empty shop in Westlode Street where outdoor clothing shop Butters was run until the summer.
It will be used as a charity shop, ‘Quid’s Inn’, to raise money to run the CUP ministry, or Christian United People’s Ministry.
Antony explains it’s a ministry without a church, one in which “we go out to the people on the streets and meet people, the same as Jesus did.”
The work Antony does is what was revealed to him “like a story book in my head” soon after he was baptised at Harris Street Baptist Church in Peterborough.
“It was like I was being shown something,” says Antony, who within six months was running the CUP ministry alongside his youth work at the church.
For the past 18 years or so he has helped all kinds of people with problems, from getting them off the streets to supporting single pregnant mums and drug addicts.
Antony says: “I physically go on the streets and talk to people and help them with issues, help them with housing or to get back into work.
“It’s not just Sunday, it’s every day. For a lot of people life is hard. When life pressurizes them, if they lose someone, get depressed, they do silly things, and we can all get there. One minute we can have everything and then lose family, stability and end up on the streets taking dugs. All they need is someone to come along and say, ‘I can help’.”
The ministry team is made up of Antony and Rachel and a congregation all over the country of people who have been helped and who want to assist others in return.
The focus of their work coming up to the festive season is to raise money for Christmas boxes and food parcels to give to families with nothing or very little.
So far, they have raised funds through regular car boot sales, but now the couple will focus on Quid’s Inn, where Antony says: “The prices will be what charity shops should be about. What we want to do is to help poor people. We are not wanting to upset other charity shops in the area because their prices are good anyway.
“If people would like to donate to us that’s wonderful and if people are really in need come and see us and if anything is too expensive let us know and we’ll look after them.”
Rachel has picked up a bit of knowledge about antiques – and collected some pieces – thanks to the car boot sales. Part of the shop will be used as RTL Antiques, to buy and sell antiques in the hopes that Rachel doesn’t have to return to full-time work but can spend more time with nine-week old Joshua.