National recognition for Southampton project that helps vulnerable families

16 July 2012

The Avenue Centre receives prestigious Community Project Award

A community project that seeks to support vulnerable families today announced it had won a prestigious national award for the work it undertakes in Southampton. The Avenue Centre, which has operated from Avenue St Andrews United Reformed Church for 24 years, confirmed it had received a Community Project Award for its vital work and prize money of £2,000.

The centre assists around 35 vulnerable families per year from within the local community who are referred by Health & Children’s Services.

Work undertaken by the Avenue Centre supports these families at critical times by offering holistic support and helping them to build positive lives whilst steering children away from anti-social behaviour.

The centre, which is open three half-days per week in the Avenue St Andrew’s church building, also operates for half a day at a local school. In addition to this, centre workers support vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees, helping them integrate and come to terms with past traumas.

Such is the positive outcome of the Avenue Centre’s work that the Community Awards judging panel recognised it as one of the winners in this year’s national awards. Revd Tim Searle, a minister in the Group of churches of which Avenue St Andrew’s is a member, was presented with the award at the United Reformed Church General Assembly held in Scarborough and also received £2,000 prize money which will help the centre to continue its vital work amongst local residents.

Tim said: “We’re thrilled to have been selected as one of the winners this year and are delighted that our work with vulnerable families in Southampton has been recognised on a national level.

“Our intervention with families in their hour of need truly has a life-changing effect and we have been privileged to see parents and children have their lives and families transformed through the Centre.

“We will use the prize money to continue our much needed work in the local community, implementing a programme for healthy eating and increased physical activity to help parents and children tackle obesity.”

Margaret Slater, Marketing Manager of Congregational & General Insurance, the sponsors of the Community Project Awards, said: “The Avenue Centre is a fantastic project that clearly has a life-changing impact on the families it helps.

“This project is held in very high esteem by local agencies for the work undertaken and we’re confident that the prize fund will be put to good use. Through nearly 25 years of committed service, the Avenue Centre has seen many families transformed and we look forward to hearing of many more in future years.”