A NEW multi-faith prayer room has opened in Widnes Market Churches representing various denominations have united to create The Sanctuary, a place where shoppers and traders can seek solace and comfort.

Anglican lay chaplain Alan Hurt, from St Paul’s Church in Victoria Square, helped to set up the initiative.

He said: “It was my idea. I work as part of an evangelist group of churches.

“All the groups, hindus, muslims, buddhists, and christians have shown interest so we know we’ve got support. This has brought us all closer together.

“Halton Council has been absolutely fantastic.”

The Sanctuary will be open every day with lay people on hand a few times a week.

Alan, aged 55, from Ditton,  added:”We are here to listen. There are lot of people out there who are lonely and just need someone to talk to.

“We are not qualified and we do not offer counselling. If people have specific problems, we will signpost them to someone who can help.”

Chris Noon, aged 61, a lay Catholic volunteer from Halton View, said: “I was in the market one day and woman was crying. She had just lost a friend and needed someone to talk to. There are a lot of bereaved people who don’t know where to turn.

“We are not giving advice. We just want people to know that we care.

“We are living in a troubled world. This is a place where people can sit and have a quiet moment.”