Celebrating those who share their strength with others

In October, Allchurches awarded £223,525 to 74 churches, charities and schools around the UK and Ireland. A number of these organisations do really tough work on the frontline for those who need help and have nowhere else to go.

Their staff and volunteers come face to face with survivors and people in distress, day after day. They comfort and care for those who have lived through trauma, abuse or violence, who have lost everything or have nothing left and nowhere to go.

We’re proud to support these organisations and want to share and celebrate their work, their staff and their volunteers; along with the inspiration they bring to all of us who become aware of their story.

St Nicholas of Tolentino, Bristol

The Catholic parish of St Nicholas of Tolentino is an inner-city church in a greatly deprived area of Bristol. Its congregation includes Catholics from more than twelve African and Asian communities, along with multi-generational Bristolians.

The St Nicholas community has had a tradition of working with the poor and marginalised for 170 years and its work with asylum seekers and refugees lies at the core of the parish’s identity and mission.

St Nicholas of Tolentino in Bristol is the first UK church to be awarded Church of Sanctuary status, for its commitment to proudly be a welcoming place to all and to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution. The parish priest, Father Richard MCKay, was awarded Bristol’s Diversity Award in 2018 for being the city’s ‘Most Positive Role Model in Faith and Religion’.

We are delighted to provide a grant of £7,000 for building works and refurbishment of the church’s Assisi Centre, which will enable staff and volunteers to continue to provide the invaluable support they give to the parish and all those who seek their welcome or protection. Read more about the wonderful ‘communion of communities in mission’ that is St Nicholas of Tolentino Church and its congregation from 60 countries.

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The Snowdrop Project, Sheffield

When potential victims of human trafficking and slavery are rescued, discovered or escape, they can receive 45-90 days support in a safe house before they must survive their unattended physical and psychological problems alone, cope with complex legal battles and start a new life on their own.

The additional challenges for non-English speaking, non-resident survivors are unimaginable. At this point, survivors are at their most vulnerable to homelessness, re-exploitation and further harm – and many don’t make it.

The Snowdrop Project was begun in 2012 by CEO and Founder, Lara Bundock, when her social work took her into the world of modern slavery victims:

‘Very quickly I learnt that we can barely imagine some of the atrocious acts that one person can do to another, and when you hear it first-hand you have a choice; you can either choose to look the other way, or you can move closer. I could not look the other way. I could not ignore the problem.’

In October, Allchurches gave a grant of £16,000 to The Snowdrop Project, to help the charity purchase premises in Sheffield and continue to provide long-term support to survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking at a critical moment in their journey to recovery. Learn more about The Snowdrop Project and the work they do.

Grand Union Vineyard Church, Milton Keynes

The Grand Union Vineyard Church operates two campuses in Milton Keynes, including one on the Netherfield housing estate, which is one of the poorest areas of the city and has child poverty rates of 42% and rising (compared to 20% average for Milton Keynes). 46% of households in Netherfield are ‘workless’ (compared to 26% average for the rest of the city) and there are many prevalent factors of social, physical, mental and spiritual poverty.

Allchurches Trust has granted £3,500 to help the church bring all of its community services under one roof at Netherfield Chapel, which will become a hub for support and services to improve the lives of vulnerable residents on one of the poorest housing estates in Milton Keynes.

In collaboration with the Woughton Community Council and residents groups, the church will open a new branch of MK Storehouse in Netherfield to distribute free clothes, shoes and accessories, and the church will provide a Community Fridge, Wellbeing Mornings, Youth Clubs and free Community events, including BBQs and Christmas Parties. Learn more about the MK Storehouse by watching Colin’s story.