Bishop Sarah Mullally visits centre as part of a three day tour of North Devon

Bishop of Crediton, The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally with Rebecca Harris at the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple. Picture: Tony GussinBishop of Crediton, The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally with Rebecca Harris at the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple. Picture: Tony Gussin

The Bishop of Crediton says churches and councils need to work together to help the homeless and those in need.

The Right Reverend Sarah Mullally was speaking today (Friday) during a visit to the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple at the start of a three day tour of North Devon.

She said at the centre Christians from a range of churches were working with the authorities to help the homeless.

And she referred to the emergency accommodation being provided by North Devon Council at Barnstaple Salvation Army hall in periods of sub-zero temperatures.

She said: "What's clear to me is that the churches need to work in partnership with the local council and that's particularly true for tackling homelessness and helping people who find themselves out in the cold."

Bishop Sarah was shown around the centre and its facilities, set up by the Freedom Community Alliance charity to help those in need and poverty such as the homeless, people with mental health or addictions.

She said their work was 'absolutely brilliant', adding: "What they are doing at the Freedom Centre makes a real difference to peoples' lives.

"What I am really impressed with is rather than just doing something that's good, they have understood where people are and how they can most effectively support them to take permanent changes in their lives."

The charity's managing director Nigel Harris said they were delighted to host the bishop and show her around.

He said: "What we do as an organisation very much ties in with the Christian principles of feed the hungry, helping the homeless and looking after the lost.

"It's always good to see someone prominent recognise our work and what we do."

If you need help and support or want to find out more about the work of the Freedom Community Alliance and how you might help, visit http://www.freedomcommunityalliance.org.uk or call 01271 321171.

Today Bishop Sarah also visited North Devon District Hospital and Ilfracombe, including Ilfracombe Academy as well as the lifeboat station and Belle's Place Café for young people.

Tomorrow (Saturday) she will attend a service in Ilfracombe, meet more members of the congregation and community, before going on to Georgeham, Braunton and attending the North Devon Christmas Market.

On Sunday she will visit Woolacombe, the Fremington Christmas Tree Festival and conclude with a service and gathering at St Brannock's Church in Braunton.