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Hemblington church 540CF

Broadland church shortlisted for national award

2016: All Saints Church in Hemblington, between Blofield and Acle, has been shortlisted for a new competition to find the churches running the most innovative community activities made possible through the installation of new facilities.

The Marsh Awards for Innovative Projects are designed to show the positive impact that installing new facilities such as kitchens and toilets has on churches and local communities and on harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers. They are run jointly by the National Churches Trust and the Marsh Christian Trust. Churches who have installed new facilities in the last two years are eligible to enter.

The first winner of ‘The Marsh Awards for Innovative Projects’ will be announced by the Dean of Wakefield, the Very Rev Jonathan Greener, at the Churches Trust Forum Annual Conference at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in York on May 19, and will be awarded the £1,000 prize. A runner up will be awarded a £500 prize.
The Events Committee at All Saints Church, Hemblington, was formed to develop their previously underused Grade 1 Listed building. They have increased the number of regular users of the church, bringing together the community in new and traditional ways, particularly around nature and engagement with heritage. This has been enabled by changes to the access and facilities available at the church. There is level access for people with reduced mobility, and a wheelchair accessible toilet.
Groups who have regularly met in the church in the past include children’s craft events, craft fairs, a quiet day, and ‘Make and Mardle’, a monthly meeting for coffee, cake, and chat. They are now able to extend their usage because of the new facilities.
New events include presentations by local wildlife experts; a study day on the architecture of the church attended by 45 delegates; a visit from the University of the Third Age; and a presentation on conservation by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.
The competition was open to any Christian congregation in the UK which is a member of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and which had seen new facilities installed in 2014 or 2015. The judges’ criteria for the shortlist included a demonstrable social benefit, best practice in management and organisation, and project that serve deprived or marginalised communities.
Judges for ‘The Marsh Awards for Innovative Projects’ are Emily Reeves, from the Marsh Christian Trust; Clare De Silva, from C Squared Consultants; and the Revd Canon Dr Mandy Ford, Canon Chancellor and Director of Ministerial Education for the Diocese of Southwark and Trustee of the National Churches Trust.
Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust, said: “The National Churches Trust works to ensure that the UK’s churches are in good repair and able to serve local people. The impressive shortlist for ‘The Marsh Awards for Innovative Projects’ demonstrates how churches can do invaluable work for communities if they have the right facilities available. I’d like to thank everybody who entered the competition and look forward to hearing the winner announced.”
Other shortlisted churches include those in Somerset, Newcastle, Scotland, London, Herefordshire and Yorkshire.
The National Churches Trust is the leading national independent charity concerned with the protection and welfare of churches, chapels and meeting houses throughout the United Kingdom. They aim to:
a)         Provide grants for the repair, maintenance and modernisation of church buildings
b)         Act as a catalyst to improve and bring more resources to the management of church buildings
c)         Promote the value of church buildings to the community at large
More information at www.nationalchurchestrust.org
The Marsh Christian Trust has two main areas of work; grant-making and the Marsh Awards. The Marsh Christian Trust seeks to reward those who go unrecognised in their unpaid work to improve society and their community. The Trust runs a portfolio of Awards with a number of internationally and nationally recognised organisations such as Barnardos, the British Museum and the Zoological Society of London. The Awards seek to recognise unsung heroes who all aim to improve the world we live in.
More information at http://www.marshchristiantrust.org/
For more information about Hemblington Church, visit: http://www.hemblingtonchurch.org.uk/

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