Llanhilleth Chapel Picks Up National Award

09 June 2017

Zion Miners Chapel has been awarded a £2,000 prize after nominations from across the UK were invited for the annual Serving the Community Awards. 

Rev Viv Nicholls and Church Deacon Mrs Pam Hopkins BEM, received the award at the Congregational Federation Assembly held in Swansea on Saturday 10 June. The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational Insurance, recognise the efforts of churches that use the energy, commitment and skills of church members and volunteers to establish and maintain social initiatives within their local community. 

As the only chapel remaining in Llanhilleth, Zion Miners is an integral part of the community where all people regardless of age colour or belief can meet in safety and find friendship. By engaging with local organisations and Blaenau Gwent Community Connections, the chapel offers a variety of support groups and provide social interaction as well advice for those in need. 

Rev Nicholls Church Minister said: “Our aim is to serve the community, in the community, for the community. Winning this award is a great achievement for a small chapel in the South Wales valleys, we feel both honoured and very proud of the work that we undertake in our communities. This award recognises the commitment and effort of our church members and volunteers alike and we will use the funds to continue our work.” 

Zion Miners Chapel has a developing programme of events to provide social engagement to help combat loneliness and isolation that affects many people particularly carers and family members. In 2016 the chapel was recognised for becoming the first Dementia friendly chapel in Wales and offers support to people and their carers living with dementia. Advice for people living alone is given and monthly friendship groups are supported by Age Cymru. Social events including craft groups, coffee mornings, singing sessions lunches and much more are offered on a regular basis. 

Margaret Slater, Marketing Manager of Congregational Insurance, commented: “We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives that really make a difference and unite people. Zion Miners chapel have done some impressive work in reducing social isolation and raising the awareness of Dementia in their surrounding area.The inclusiveness that the chapel promotes is truly inspiring and is obviously appreciated by the local community. The friendliness and warmth offered is clear to see and they are a very worthy winner.”

Yvonne Campbell General Secretary of the Congregational Federation commented: "The standard of nominations for this year’s awards was extremely high, and each of the 3 churches that received an award today have made a real impact in their local area. We are absolutely delighted that so much impressive work has grown out of local congregations and we’re proud to provide Zion Miners Chapel with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue this important work within their community.”

To view short films of this year’s award winners, visit https://youtu.be/_YCjuDY5H7s