The winners of the first ever Christian Funders’ Forum (CFF) Christian social action awards, which includes a local church from East Belfast, were announced at a special ceremony on Wednesday 12th November, 2014.
This ground–breaking event, held in the historic Guards Room at Lambeth Palace in London, also recognised and celebrated the teams behind these key projects, which have been implemented to serve their communities around the UK.
Members of the Willowfield Parish Community Association, which is based on My Lady’s Road, Belfast, were celebrating last night as they received the award for the ‘Best Transformative Community Project For Vulnerable Young People’. They were nominated for the award by funder, The Hinchley Trust. This grass roots community based youth work project, which started in 2002, has since seen thousands of young people engage with their programmes over the years.
The project itself prioritises meeting young people where they are at, whether that’s in schools, on the streets or via a weekly drop in centre, the leaders spend time identifying with the young people themselves what the social and personal issues are that may be affecting them on a day–to–day basis. They then look to address these needs whether it’s low self–esteem, eating disorders, self–harm, loneliness or sectarian issues.
Archdeacon David McClay who is the Chairman of the Association and accepted the award on the night says, “It’s such a privilege to be here this evening and that the Christian Funders’ Forum have felt fit to recognise what we’ve been trying to do here in Belfast in reaching and supporting young people, many of whom are struggling and feel lost. We’re passionate about what we do and want to see more lives changed through this project and this award encourages us to keep doing what we do.”
Matt Bird, Chair of the Christian Funders’ Forum and host of the ceremony said, “It was such a privilege tonight as members of The Christian Funders’ Forum to recognise and award these amazing churches and organisations, who are doing some incredible and innovative work in their communities across the UK. These projects represent the growing impact that churches are having in their local areas, working together to love their communities.”
Christian grant makers in the UK such as The Hinchley Trust and The Joseph Rank Trust, are increasingly working together to provide support and encourage excellence in
Christian mission. The past few years have witnessed a rise in churches and organisations stepping into the gap and addressing key social needs, as the country has experienced a changing economic environment and significant cuts in funding for public services and charities.
In light of this every year the CFF awards will identify and award the best of church and Christian social action projects, which are making a significant difference to thousands of people in communities across Britain. It will also continue to encourage and resource other local churches of all denominations to understand and address the social needs within their community – working together with other churches, local councils and police forces to build stronger and safer communities.
About The Christians Funders’ Forum
The Christians Funders’ Forum are a group of executives and trustees of grant–making foundations/funds who grant/invest into Christian work, meeting regularly to encourage the sharing of best practice and working together wherever that is possible. The Forum itself was established two years ago and organisations and bodies include The Cinnamon Trust, The Hinchley Trust and The Joseph Rank Trust.
Additional awards were given to Sharpe Memorial Church of the Nazarene in Parkhead, Glasgow for Best Church Building Project and Youthscape in Luton for the Best Pioneering Work With Children And Young People.
Nominees for the different award categories were selected by the individual sponsoring foundation, while the runners up and overall winners were chosen by the collective members of the CFF.