Marsh Innovative Church Project Awards 2019 - Shortlist


Five church community projects have been shortlisted for the Marsh Innovative Church Project Awards, a competition to find the Christian congregations running the best community activities in a church building, made possible through the installation of new facilities or through improved access.

The awards show the positive impact that installing new facilities has on churches and local communities, and on harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers. 

The awards are run jointly by the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church building support charity, and the Marsh Christian Trust.

The winner of the Marsh Innovative Church Project Awards will be announced at the Mercer's Hall in the City of London on 15 November 2019, and will be awarded a £1,500 prize. A runner up will be awarded a £500 prize.

The five shortlisted projects are listed below

Christ Church PCC partnership with Circus Central and Christ Church of England Primary School, Newcastle

Circus Central offers a range of classes and events teaching circus skills. This generates funding for the church building and improved facilities so that it can continue to be used for worship and by the public.

Daylight Music and the Margins Café, Union Chapel, Islington, London.

Daylight Music’s ‘pay-what-you-can’ lunchtime concerts in the Grade I listed Union Chapel, organised and curated by Ben Eshmade of Arctic Circle, attract large audiences and create volunteering opportunities. During concerts the Margins’ Café team serve tea, coffee, bacon butties and homemade cakes. The Café is staff ed by trainees on a paid Supported Employment Programme run by The Margins Project which helps people facing homelessness, crisis and isolation. The kitchen was funded by a National Churches Trust Grant.

Safehaven at St Peter’s, Brighton.

Safehaven delivers exceptional services and resources to help homeless and other vulnerable people in Brighton through an extensive volunteer programme. A Grade II* listed church that had been threatened with closure, St Peter’s now works with and has inspired other congregations throughout Brighton and Hove. The church is a previous grantee of the National Churches Trust.

The Holy Trinity Outreach Project at Holy Trinity without-the-walls, Blacon, Chester.

The Holy Trinity Outreach Project provides a range of services that help to reduce isolation and loneliness, support well-being, and link to further help and a healthy lifestyle. Activities include the Meeting Place Community Café, a place of welcome with crafts; a Gardening Project and Cooking Made Simple classes, which launched in 2018 after kitchen facilities were expanded with the help of grant funding, including from the National Churches Trust.

The Lighthouse Project by Hackney Church, London.

Hackney Church (which includes Grade II* listed St John at Hackney and St Luke’s, Homerton Terrace) helps over 800 people a week through the Lighthouse Project. Partnerships include a drop-in-lunch in collaboration with leading restaurant chain Moro. Hackney Church is also a partner in the new Hackney Church Brew Co., profits from which help to fund the church’s work with the homeless and vulnerable.

The judges’ criteria for the shortlist included projects that provide a clear benefit to the wider community, best practice in management and sustainability, and that serve marginalised communities and demonstrate a real understanding of local needs.