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URC Community Project Awards 2010

21 July 2010

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Legal support initiative receives £3,000 prize fund

 

Cardiff-based charity Asylum Justice, which provides free legal advice to failed asylum seekers, has been named overall winner at this year’s Community Project Awards.

 

Manager Mike Adlington was presented with the award by national church and home insurer Congregational & General, at the annual United Reformed Church General Assembly held in Loughborough.


Asylum Justice tops the list of 82 projects nominated from across the UK that demonstrate how churches engage with social initiatives within communities.

 

Established in 2007, Asylum Justice was founded by retired barrister Roger Evans and manager Mike Adlington from Cardiff’s City United Reformed Church. The aim was to welcome asylum seekers into the congregation, and provide assistance in the local area. The team now consists of volunteers including legal assistants and off-duty social workers.

 

Users of the project travel from as far afield as Plymouth, London, Leeds and Hull to access the free legal advice and support available to those who no longer have Legal Aid.

 

Founder, retired Barrister Roger Warren Evans said: “We are delighted to receive this award and the money will allow us to continue with our work. We have successfully created a low cost, all-volunteer model that has been recognised by the awards and thank City Church in Cardiff for their unstinting generosity and support, without which this would not have been possible.

 

“Ultimately, it is volunteers that we need above all else, and although we conduct our own training for non-lawyers, we appeal to all lawyers who would like to be involved in joining this project to get in touch. The potential for projects like Asylum Justice across England and Wales is huge, and current Government cuts are likely to reduce Legal Aid coverage still further, increasing the demand for our services.

 

“We encourage volunteers both lay and professional to participate in this work wherever possible.”

 

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: “Asylum Justice stood out as a strong community initiative that is making a significant impact and offering an important service not only to local asylum seekers, but to people looking for support across the UK. Roger and Mike’s approach is truly inspirational and we hope that the money will enable the project to grow further and gain the volunteers that it needs to continue making a difference.”

 

Val Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), and one of the judges added: “The standard of entries at this year’s Community Awards was very high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area – showing God at work in small details and large visionary projects. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, life-giving projects have grown out of local URC congregations and we’re proud to provide Asylum Justice with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue their important community work.”

URC Community Project Awards 2010

21 July 2010

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Cafe Unity in Heald Green receives £1,000 prize for putting heart into the community

Café unity in Heald Green has been awarded a £1,000 prize at this year’s Community Project Awards, in recognition of its role as a community hub.

Cafe Unity was named as a finalist selected from 82 projects nominated from across the UK which demonstrate how churches engage with social initiatives within the community.

Shop manager Katie Pritchard was presented with the award by national church and home insurer Congregational & General, at the annual United Reformed Church General Assembly.

The café has been in existence for 5 years and is open to anyone in the area or passing trade. The ambience is very much in keeping with other high street café brands and in the evenings the café is opened up for youth and projects and meetings.

The prize, donated by Congregational & General will be used for expanding the youth project element, as well as enabling the cafe to continue its reach into the local area.

Katie said: “Cafe Unity provides a meeting area for people, somewhere aside from the supermarket queue for locals to meet, chat, and enjoy a drink and for many it has become a home from home. Our regulars are both young and old, and the money will be a tremendous help in expanding our youth project in particular, as well as enabling us continue to reach out to the local area.”

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: “We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as Cafe Unity that really make a difference and unite people of all backgrounds. The work done by Katie and team is an inspiration and it’s clear that there is a lot of potential for the cafe to continue making a positive impact in the area.”

Val Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), and one of the judges added: “The standard of entries at this year’s Community Awards was very high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area – showing God at work in small details and large visionary projects. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, life-giving projects have grown out of local URC congregations and we’re proud to provide Cafe Unity with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue their important community work.”

URC Community Project Awards 2010

21 July 2010

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A shop in Seaforth that doesn’t charge for its products, but instead serves as a hub for the community has been awarded a £2,000 prize and second place at this year’s Community Project Awards.

Seaforth Community Shop was named as a finalist after being selected from 82 projects nominated from across the UK that demonstrate how churches engage with social initiatives within the community.

Shop owner Lynne Higgins was presented with the award by national church and home insurer Congregational & General, at the annual United Reformed Church General Assembly.

Lynne said: “We are delighted to receive this prize, which will go towards making our shop building more accessible. This will include changing facilities for our disabled customers and volunteers.”

The shop provides a base for recycling clothing, furniture and books as well as being a meeting point for those who simply want to chat. It operates on a unique basis in that no charge is made for items that people want, donations are always gratefully received. The users range from young to old from within and outside the Seaforth area. Shop owner Lynne Higgins wanted to rekindle Seaforths’ community spirit, by providing a hub for those in need and a place for people to connect with others in the local area.

Social networking has played an important part in the project establishing itself. The shop has a website and uses facebook to put messages out for help, not just for volunteers but to inform about job vacancies in the locality. When newcomers move into the area donations are also sought to help them set up home.

Lynne also acts as a schools coordinator encouraging young people to undertake work placement at the shop.

Lynne said: “Our work with the local schools came about due to the difficulty that many young people find obtaining work experience in retail. We try to help as many people as possible and often have customers stopping by to ask advice or just for a chat.”

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: “We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as the Seaforth Community Shop that really make a difference and unite people. I feel the success lies in the fact that this shop isn’t just about giving to those in material need; it is about giving to anyone who needs support in the community. No-one is ever made to feel that they are asking for charity.”

Val Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), and one of the judges added: “The standard of entries at this year’s Community Awards was very high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area – showing God at work in small details and large visionary projects. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, life-giving projects have grown out of local URC congregations and we’re proud to provide Seaforth Community Shop with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue their important community work.”

URC Community Project Awards 2010

21 July 2010

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The Children’s Allotment in Southend has received a funding boost of £2,000 and been named runner-up in this year’s Community Project Awards.

The Children’s Allotment was named as a finalist selected from 82 projects nominated from across the UK which demonstrate how churches engage with social initiatives within the community.

Project founder Elaine Stevens was presented with the award by national church and home insurer Congregational & General, at the annual United Reformed Church General Assembly.

The Children’s Allotment was created 18 months ago on unused land within the church boundary. This gives children access to green areas where they can grow their own plants and vegetables, which are then sold in the locality for a nominal amount. Donations form a major part of the projects income.

Elaine said: “We are pleased that our small church allotment has received this award. There are so many children in the local area who do not have gardens or green areas where they can grow plants and see nature at work first hand, and our Children’s Allotment provides them with a place that they can make their own.”

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: “We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as the Children’s Allotment that really make a difference and unite people of all backgrounds. Elaine’s commitment to developing a place for local children to grow their own plants and produce is an inspiration and we are pleased to provide a funding boost to this project.”

Val Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), and one of the judges added: “The standard of entries at this year’s Community Awards was very high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area – showing God at work in small details and large visionary projects. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, life-giving projects have grown out of local URC congregations and we’re proud to provide Asylum Justice with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue their important community work.”

URC Community Project Awards 2010

21 July 2010

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Youth anger management project receives £1,000 funding boost

 

A Tottenham-based project that teaches young people anger management skills to deal with life on the streets has been awarded a £1,000 prize at this year’s Community Project Awards.

Peaceful Solutions was named as a finalist selected from 82 projects that were nominated from across the UK for demonstrating how churches engage with social initiatives within the community.

The project took place over a week earlier this yearand was instigated by local young people as a way of mediating violence in the area. Project leader Lorraine Downer-Mattis was presented with the award by national church and home insurer Congregational & General, at the United Reformed Church General Assembly recently held in Loughborough.

Lorraine said: “Young people from Haringey and the surrounding boroughs attended this week-long session, with a separate weekend session for adults. For many of them violence is a regular occurrence in their communities, and so the project sought to discover and practice peaceful means of resolving conflict through mediation skills with and amongst young people. We also helped them look at ways they could find forgiveness.

“The project was a success and around 30 young people attended in total. This award will now enable us to fund a second weekend in November to continue to address this important issue.”

Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: “We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as Peaceful Solutions that really make a difference and unite people of all backgrounds. The work done by Lorraine and the young people involved in this project is very deserving and their courage and desire to tackle violence should be seen as an inspiration to people everywhere.”

Val Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), and one of the judges added: “The standard of entries at this year’s Community Awards was very high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area – showing God at work in small details and large visionary projects. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, life-giving projects have grown out of local URC congregations and we’re proud to provide Peaceful Solutions with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue their important community work.”