When you buy National Lottery tickets, you don’t just hope to win a big prize. That purchase also helps deserving causes. The Big Lottery Fund has just granted £378,341 to one such cause, the St John’s Church Shildon Alive Project in County Durham, England.
The church project helps the vulnerable in the local community allowing local people to care for local people. They are celebrating after receiving the Big Lottery grant. It’s not the first time they have received such invaluable support with £750,000 being granted in the past five years.
It was six years ago that Shildon Alive was launched by Reverend Canon David Tomlinson. He’s in charge of St John’s Church and appreciates just how important the project is. He believes the area has “a great sense of community but few opportunities.”
Since being launched, the Shildon Alive project has helped launch a Food Bank in 2013. In August of this year it gave away 1084 meals to members of the local community in one month. In the last year it’s been estimated almost 10% of the town’s population has used the Food Bank.
Plans for 2019 include the opening of a centre of food and finance solidarity to further help the local community. A delighted Canon David spoke about some of the work Big Lottery funding has helped them achieve. “We have seen almost every school child in the town engaged with growing food, we have taken the lead in challenging loan sharks, loneliness and food waste.”
Other achievements of the Shildon Alive project has been to create a culture of sharing. That includes cookery skills, stories and a ‘coats for all’ campaign. The determined Canon added: “We might be in the bottom 5%t economically but when it comes to looking out for each other we are in a different league altogether.”
Shildon Alive Project coordinator, Paula Nelson looked ahead to how the grant will help the project. “Through this grant we will see more people contributing to the community, moving from food poverty, and engaging in healthy lifestyle choices.