How a church can reach further
A small church is having a big impact through community partnerships, finds Stephen Tomkins
Ten years ago, Roker United Reformed Church, Sunderland, had a Church-Related Community Worker, Helen Stephenson. She saw that the congregation was already engaged with the community but, being quite small, would have difficulty developing this further on their own. Helen suggested they develop links with trusted partners – social enterprise organisations that were of the same mindset as the church.
So the church started working with Social Chef (pictured), which helps people improve their wellbeing through food-based activities and develop a more balanced diet. Since then, Social Chef has offered activities at Roker URC including Cooking with Confidence courses, which show people the basics of cooking from scratch, and Waste Not workshops, aimed at reducing household waste. They have put on events with refugees, both emergency food provision cookery classes and one where the newcomers have shared dishes from their homeland….
Roker Life was awarded £2,000 in the United Reformed Church Community Project Awards, sponsored by Congregational.
This is an extract from an article published in the February 2023 edition of Reform