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National competition to help churches rebuild communities 

A national competition is seeking to find ambitious church-based social action projects that are supporting local people with housing needs and building community

Cinnamon Lab

The Cinnamon Network Project Lab competition aims to find best practice initiatives - and help other churches to replicate them.
Two competition winners will receive a £30,000 development grant each, and there are up to five places available on the Cinnamon Project Incubator where they will receive support from industry professionals to help them replicate their work for the benefit of communities across the UK.
The competition will ‘help churches play a key role in rebuilding their communities and our nation as a whole,’ says the Cinnamon Network.
Mike Royal, Co-Chief Executive of Cinnamon Network said, ‘It’s imperative that every church – from those in rural parishes to Black and minority ethnic churches working in busy inner-city centres – is equipped to support their community. Through Project Lab we want to find great initiatives that will help churches fulfil their responsibility.’
The Cinnamon Network is working in partnership with the Church of England with support from Andrews Charitable Trust and the Mercers’ Company on Project Lab 2020.
Projects wishing to apply could include those involved in:
• Tenancy training
• Housing advice and advocacy
• Mentoring and befriending
• Hosting or hospitality
• Resident engagement
• Community self-help
• Supported accommodation
• Co-living schemes
• Temporary use of empty properties
Projects must submit a written application form and a 60 second video. Following this, five projects will be selected to pitch their idea at the Project Lab Final.
Cinnamon says the current pandemic has highlighted issues of poor and insecure housing.
The press release introducing the competition stated: ‘Over the past few months, we’ve all become aware that having somewhere safe to call home is essential to human survival and wellbeing. This has been highlighted by the fact that those who live in unsafe and crowded accommodation have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Analysis by the New Policy Institute shows the top five most-crowded areas in the country have seen 70 per cent more coronavirus cases than the five least-crowded. While the government has introduced a number of measures to support rough sleepers and protect those in temporary accommodation during the pandemic, the underlying problems have not gone away.
‘An estimated 8.4 million people in the UK are living in unaffordable, insecure and unsafe accommodation.
‘When payment holidays and state-backed furlough schemes come to an end, the unemployment rate is likely to increase even further, which will have a knock-on effect on housing.
‘In partnership with the Church of England, and with support from Andrews Charitable Trust and the Mercers’ Company, Project Lab 2020 aims to help churches play a key role in rebuilding their communities and our nation as a whole.’
The Revd Lynne Cullens, member of the Archbishop’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community, and Rector of Stockport and Brinnington said, ‘At the heart of the Commission’s vision is the desire to normalise the meeting of housing need by local churches, by helping to develop a range of quality projects that churches can easily replicate.
‘Cinnamon’s highly-respected Project Lab model is the perfect vehicle to work alongside churches nationally and ecumenically to do that. The Commission is delighted to be co-leading Project Lab 2020 and we very much encourage churches to apply.’

For more information or to register your interest, visit cinnamonnetwork.co.uk/projectlab



Baptist Times, 29/05/2020
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