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Congregational Federation Serving the Community Awards 2015

13 May 2015

Local Church Community Arts Project Picks Up National Award

Arts4All based at Southwick Christian Community Church has been awarded a £1,500 prize after nominations from across the UK were invited for the annual Faith in Action awards.

Church Secretary Brian Box, was presented with the award at the Congregational Federation Assembly held in Peterborough on Saturday 9 May. The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational & General, recognise the efforts of churches that establish social initiatives within their local community.

Rev Lynda Hulcoop, Minister for Southwick Christian Community Church said: "We are delighted to receive this prize as it recognises and rewards all the wonderful work done by so many in the church in finding creative ways to express our faith. The money will go towards supporting more creative projects, the materials and the manpower we need to extend our influence and message."

Arts4All is a programme of creative activities which provide an opportunity for people of all ages and differing abilities to come together and participate in creative sessions. This includes painting and drawing, card making, mosaics, glasswork, jewellery making, needlecraft, photography and cookery. The programme encourages community volunteers or church members to share their creative skills and provide encouragement to participants from the local community.

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: "We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as 'Arts4All' that really make a difference and unite people. I feel the success of this wide ranging project is that it not only encourages everyone to acquire new skills it is also a place for social interaction and helps bridge age, gender and cultural divides."

Rev Adrian Burr, Chair of the Congregational Federation Mission and Society Committee and a member of the judging panel commented: "The standard of entries for this year's awards was high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, projects have grown out of local congregations and we're proud to provide 'Arts4All' with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue this important work within the community."

Congregational Federation Serving the Community Awards 2015

13 May 2015

Local Shop Achieves National Recognition for Supporting Community Cohesion

Second Chance on Ladypool Road Sparkbrook, has been awarded a £2,000 prize after nominations from across the UK were invited for the annual Faith in Action awards.

Shop manager Carol Scott and her daughter, Claire Gunnell, were presented with the award at the Congregational Federation Assembly held in Peterborough on Saturday 9 May. The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational & General, recognise the efforts of churches that establish social initiatives within their local community.

Tim Bateman, Elder at Ladypool Road Congregational Church commented: "Everyone at Second Chance is delighted to receive this prize and I want to highlight the hard work of all who help out in the shop. We want to improve the accessibility to the shop by changing the door to be more wheelchair and baby buggy friendly. The money from the prize will go towards this and hopefully there will be enough to increase the amount of storage space".

Second Chance, which is owned by the Ladypool Road Congregational Church, occupies a good street position within a multicultural community. It relies on donations and provides a base for recycling of clothing, furniture, household goods, toys, books, CDs DVDs and bric-a-brac at very modest prices. The majority of clients live within the locality of the shop and some travel from further afield. In addition to being a thriving retail environment, it has also become a point of contact for some members of the local community who might otherwise feel excluded.

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: "We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as "Second Chance" that really make a difference and unite people. I feel the success lies in the fact that this shop isn't just about helping those in material need; it is about giving to anyone who needs support in the community."

Rev Adrian Burr, Chair of the Congregational Federation Mission and Society Committee and a member of the judging panel commented: "The standard of entries for this year's awards was high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, projects have grown out of local congregations and we're proud to provide "Second Chance" with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue this important work within the community."

Congregational Federation Serving the Community Awards 2015

13 May 2015

National Recognition for Caterham Project that helps Job Seekers

Caterham Job Club, a programme created by Caterham Community Church has been awarded a prestigious Faith in Action award and picked up a cash prize of £2,000.

The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational & General, recognise the efforts of churches that establish social initiatives within their local community were presented at the Congregational Federation Assembly in Peterborough on 9 May.

Unemployment for any period of time can often impair a person's self-confidence or motivation. Caterham Job Club was formed in 2012, at a time when unemployment within the locality was rising and some were struggling to find work. It was set up to offer some practical support to the unemployed in the local community and to help them gain the skills and confidence to get back into work.

Weekly workshop sessions continue to be run by a team of volunteers who encourage those attending to share their experiences and knowledge. Through the workshops, those out of work have access to free advice on successfully applying for jobs and learn skills for life. Attendees are offered help with CV writing, interview techniques, networking advice and have an opportunity to discuss their long and short term goals.

Steve Bidwell, Job Club Manager, collecting the prize and award on behalf of the team said: "The Job club team feel that it is a great privilege to serve our community, to be able to get to know, encourage and support people through the job seeking process which can often be a lonely and demoralising experience. This prize is welcomed as it will help fund the running of the club."

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater said: "We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as the 'Caterham Job Club' that really make a difference and help build community cohesion".

Rev Adrian Burr, Chair of the Congregational Federation Mission and Society Committee and a member of the judging panel commented: "The standard of entries for this year's awards was high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, projects have grown out of local congregations and we're proud to provide 'Caterham Job Club' with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue this important work within the community."

Congregational Federation Serving the Community Awards 2015

13 May 2015

Pottery For All awarded National Faith in Action Award

Pottery For All a scheme created by Blaenavon Congregational Church (Bethlehem Chapel) has been presented with a prestigious national Faith in Action award.

Anthony Ayres, Kevin Driscoll and Carol Bolter were presented with the award at the Congregational Federation Assembly held in Peterborough on Saturday 9 May. The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational & General, recognise the efforts of churches that establish social initiatives within their local community.

Pottery For All was launched to reach out to those isolated in the local community of Blaenavon and offers them a place to boost self-esteem and make friendships. The group meet every Tuesday to learn pottery skills and it is open to all ages and stages of experience.

Project Facilitator, Anthony Ayres commented: "We are thrilled to have been recognised for the work we do to engage with the local community. Winning an award is a wonderful accolade and we look forward to continuing the classes in the future. We will use the prize money to buy more materials which will allow attendees to advance their skills."

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: "We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as 'Pottery For All' that really make a difference and unite people. It is more than a simple pottery class it has brought attendees out of their shells and built confidence."

Rev Adrian Burr, Chair of the Congregational Federation Mission and Society Committee and a member of the judging panel commented: "The standard of entries for this year's awards was high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, projects have grown out of local congregations and we're proud to provide 'Pottery For All' with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue this important work within the community."