Reaching Out receives Community Project Award

13 May 2013

Hawick Congregational Community Church celebrates national accolade

Reaching Out, a community outreach programme founded by Hawick Congregational Community Church, has today announced it had won a ‘Community Project Award’

Launched in 2007, Reaching Out aims to support the vulnerable through events, educational services and counselling. Funded by Hawick Congregational Community Church, along with contributions from organisations such as Robertson Trust, the programme has 58 unpaid volunteers who deliver a range of social activities and skill-learning initiatives.

Such activities include a weekly, affordable intergenerational lunch, known as Soupalunch, which encourages individuals to reconnect with their local community; art classes provided by a local artist, incorporating trips to exhibitions; promoting social inclusion; and group knitting sessions where individuals are taught how to knit and items are sold to raise further funds for the initiative.

Reaching Out also hosts a weekly counselling drop-in session for those on no or low income. A trained councillor manages the service whilst volunteer ‘listeners’ are on call for immediate help if required.

Reaching Out Development Worker, Geraldine Strickland, received the award and £2,000 prize money on behalf of the project at the Congregational Federation Assembly in Kent, she said:

 “We’re delighted to receive the award for our project and would like to thank Congregational & General Insurance and the Congregational Federation for recognising our work.

“Reaching Out provides support to many people confronting economic and social difficulties. With our numerous outreach programmes, community activities and counselling sessions, we’re making a difference to the lives of those who need help in our local area.

“We’re really pleased to have won the award and the prize money will go towards tackling poverty in Hawick. We hope to explore the possibility of a credit union for those in hardship and to create a social enterprise amongst our knitting group to inspire people to seek an income for themselves.”

Margaret Slater, Marketing Manager from Congregational & General Insurance, said: “We are delighted that Reaching Out has won the award as this project is a leading light in the local community.

“Reaching Out has become a source of inspiration in an area facing tough economic conditions. Its range of programmes and initiatives has encouraged the community to come together as well as helping individuals to regain confidence, learn new skills and secure work placements.

“We were impressed with the number of volunteers who contribute towards the success of the project making Reaching Out a worthy winner this year.”

The Community Project Awards, sponsored by Congregational & General Insurance, seek to recognise local schemes that make a positive impact in their community.