Marsh Award for Innovative Projects
This Award is run in partnership with The National Churches Trust and recognises a congregation running an innovative community project in a church building, made possible through the installation of new facilities such as meeting spaces, kitchens, toilets or improved access.
This Award is designed to show the positive impact installing these facilities has on churches and local communities and on harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers.
The National Churches Trust provides grants to enable the repair and revitalisation of church buildings for the benefit of all the community.
Pictured: St. Andrew's Church in Blagdon, winner of the 2016 Award for Innovative Projects
The 2016 winners are Space@St. Andrew's and Recycles Club
Space@St.Andrew’s, St. Andrew’s Church, Blagdon
The newly created Space@St.Andrew’s is used by a wide variety of community based organisations including: a church run toddler group, a weekly social afternoon mostly attended by older people, the Wi-Fi Wednesday group which offers help with technology to all visitors. The Blagdon Mosaic Group made use of the space while producing a permanent mosaic depicting village life, under expert guidance and involving villagers of all ages. The space has also played host to exhibitions by local artists.
The activities and events that take place in the space are organised by “Blagdon Living Well”, a group made up of Church Members, Members of the Parish Council and other interested villagers, with the end goal being to serve the village community. Each social activity is self-funded by small subscriptions from the participants.
The space was created since before it was the village had no community meeting space and very limited public transport. A village wide questionnaire asked “What kind of church is God calling us to be?” and the responses highlighted a desire for the church to be more welcoming and accessible for community use as well as enabling different forms of worship.
Recycles Club, Salvation Army, Ilford
Ten of the thirteen wards in the London Borough of Redbridge which fall within the 20% of the most deprived wards in the country are located in the areas surrounding the Ilford Salvation Army. While unemployment figures in the area have received a boost in the last few years, many still don’t have the work or the skills necessary to give confidence in seeking and securing employment.
Participants in the scheme work alongside experienced and trained bike mechanics within a structured syllabus recycling bikes so that they are ready for sale. They also take part in the selling on of the bikes to the general public, which creates a community atmosphere and helps to develop their customer service skills. The club not only transforms the lives of its participants, but offers them qualifications, giving them the tools they need to maintain this improvement.
The club also impacts the wider community by making the cost of the bikes and any repairs more affordable, thus removing the monetary barrier which prevents people from becoming involved in cycling.
Pictured: The Wi-Fi Wednesday group at St. Andrew's Church (top), members of the Recycles Club (bottom)
National Churches Trust
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