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Congregational Federation Serving the Community Awards 2011

19 May 2011

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A forward-thinking church community has been awarded first prize at a National awards ceremony for their innovative project, Connect-Silver Surfers. Launched in September 2010 as part of Age UK’s ITea and Biscuits week, the initiative provides IT training, support and advice to the over 50s in the local community, helping them get to grips with the internet, email and computer technicalities.

 

Connect-Silver Surfers, which is run by Rhiwderin Tabernacle Chapel offers twice-weekly sessions for groups of between 12 and 20 attendees with the help of fellow community volunteers who provide the technology support and tuition. 

 

Designed to not only connect individuals with technology, the project also aims to engage and inspire the attendees to connect with their families and friends who might live far away, as well as make connections with others attending the sessions. 

 

The award-winning project helps members of the younger generation engage with the older generation during the tutorials. The ethos of the project also extends to helping people connect with their faith by engaging in conversations with the Pastor and other church members at the sessions.

 

Connect-Silver Surfers was first set up with the help of a local council grant, this initial donation enabled the project to source a set of recycled computers from a Christian computer company albeit for a very good price. Further funding for the project comes from attendee donations whilst the running costs for the project are contributed by the Chapel.   

 

Pastor, David Richards, was on hand to receive the award for the project at the 40th Annual Assembly of the Congregational Federation in Edgbaston, he said: “We are thrilled to be awarded such a fantastic prize for our Connect- Silver Surfers project. It's great that the idea has been recognised nationally and we hope that others will be inspired to be creative in their outreach.

 

“We hope to use the money to connect more of the older generation with new technology, connecting them socially with family and friends, introducing beneficial services and broadening horizons. Practically this means buying new equipment such as digital cameras, a wireless printer and web cameras.”

 

Margaret Slater, Marketing Manager at Congregational Insurance, said: “We are delighted to announce Connect-Silver Surfers as a winner at this year’s awards.  It is a fantastic, innovative project that shows how a community can share skills and knowledge with each other really successfully.

“When we visited the project it was clear how much of a positive impact it was having on the over 50s members in the community and how well it was equipping them with skills that are considered customary in the 21st century.

“Many of the members who visit Connect-Silver Surfers go along to the sessions for the social aspect too. Several members have professed that the project has given them a new lease of life as they have been able to trace old friends, create a family tree and use Google Earth to look at places they once visited, as well as enjoy the company of others.

 

“We are very pleased to present this award to Connect-Silver Surfers and hope the gift will help support the project to continue with the enthusiastic work currently undertaken.”

 

The Congregational Federation Community Awards seek to recognise local schemes that make a positive impact in their community. The awards are sponsored by Congregational & General Insurance which has run a community award scheme for the past fourteen years.

Congregational Federation Serving the Community Awards 2011

19 May 2011

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A pioneering church-run breakfast for bikers project has today been recognised for its efforts to bring together members of a local community. Knowle Green Congregational Church has won a prestigious Congregational Community Award for its ‘Biker Breakfast’, the UK’s only such event, which is held once a month in the Lancashire village.

The event, which sees the church provide a free breakfast to members of the biker community, has been so successful since its launch three years ago that guest numbers have risen from six to an average of 60.

Such is the popularity of the event that motorcyclists visit from across the North of England, with many paying testament to the non-threatening Christian environment, where members of the biker community can receive prayer and spiritual support as and when they request it.

Whilst project costs are met solely by voluntary donations, the Biker Breakfast has remained in profit and has even made donations to support the local church. Leader of the Knowle Green Congregational Church, Pastor Chris Okpoti, was on hand to receive the award at the 40th Assembly of the Congregational Federation in Edgbaston.

The £3,000 prize money which accompanies the award will be used to purchase more tables, a presentation stand and a marquee so the project can continue to grow from strength to strength.

Pastor Chris Okpoti of Knowle Green Congregational Church, said: “We are delighted to receive this award for our Biker Breakfast and would like to thank Congregational Insurance and the Congregational Federation for recognising the impact this project has had on not only the biker community, but also our own church community too.

“The Biker Breakfast brings together members of diverse communities and offers a place of support and help for those in need. It has also proved the catalyst for our congregation to see the impact it can have when the members draw together. The award is also an incentive and an encouragement to the Church, the Biking fraternity and the wider community"

Margaret Slater, Marketing Manager from Congregational Insurance said: “We are thrilled that the Biker Breakfast has won an award this year. It is a fantastic project that reaches out to bring different elements of the community together in a unique way.

“When visiting the project we were struck by how the non-threatening yet openly Christian environment provided a place of help and support for those in need. The growth of the project and its financial sustainability was also impressive.

“We are pleased to support this project with our award and a gift which will serve to continue the good work of the project.”

The Congregational Federation Community Awards seek to recognise local schemes that make a positive impact in their community. The awards are sponsored by Congregational & General Insurance which has run a community award scheme for the past fourteen years.