The ASK Centre

16 July 2018

Local Advice Centre Wins National Award

The “ASK Centre” receives a Community Project Award in recognition of the services provided to Rhyl residents.  

A project which seeks to help the community grow and thrive by tackling the main causes of poverty has won a coveted national award in recognition of the work it has undertaken. The ASK Centre, an initiative of the United Church in Rhyl, has been named as a Community Project Award winner and receives a £2,000 prize.

Eunice Parry, ASK Centre Manager, and Barbara Barkley received the award at the United Reformed Church General Assembly held in Nottingham, Saturday 7 July.  The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational Insurance, recognise the efforts of churches that engage with their local community, to establish and maintain social initiatives.

The “ASK Centre” is supported by partnerships with Denbighshire citizen’s advice (DCA) and a local food bank. Local community residents are able to access advice, support, counselling and fellowship to help improve their lives.  Advice is primarily provided by the DCA employees and their volunteers who occupy offices at the centre.  

The emergency food bank housed at the centre helps those referred to them by the DCA and up to 20 other agencies, by providing emergency packs to those in immediate need.  For those requiring longer term support a follow-up referral to the larger King’s Storehouse foodbank is made. The centre also provides drinks and simple hot meals for the homeless and the vulnerable ensuring people feel loved and valued irrespective of age, gender or belief.   

The digital gateway is a computer suite for clients of the DCA to make online applications for benefits and support; the computers are also available for any members of the community to use and for those   with little or no computer knowledge a volunteer is on hand to help. 

The centre is a community resource and space is utilised for a cross section of activities throughout the year.  Whilst the centre project is run and overseen by the Elders of the United Church in Rhyl the practical day to day duties and responsibilities fall to the centre manager.  A management group and steering group with representatives from the DCA help to ensure that the centre continues to meet the needs of the local community.    

Rev. Paul Robinson from United Church in Rhyl on behalf of members and friends commented “we are delighted to have been presented with an award, we see that not as an achievement of our efforts alone.  The ASK Centre is a project of the church and is helping to tackle poverty in Rhyl town centre.  The prize money we have received will be used to make the centre more widely known within the community and help towards the cost of some new signage for the building.”

Margaret Slater, Marketing Manager of Congregational Insurance, said “we place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives that really make a difference and unite people.   The ASK centre is an ambitious project which not only seeks to tackle poverty but provides much needed support services and community space.”

Kevin Watson and Alan Yates, Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church and two of the judges that grant the awards said “we are confident that the cash prize will make a positive difference to the work undertaken by the Ask Centre. We are very grateful that these awards enable us to showcase projects demonstrating the URC’s' love for the community.”

To view short films of this year’s award winners, visit https://youtu.be/uwxU4ZSmkXI