Shortlist announced for Marsh Innovative Church Project Awards

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018


The shortlist has been announced for the Marsh Innovative Church Project Awards, a competition to find the Christian competitions running the best community activities in a church building made possible through the installation of new facilities.

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 St Paul's Cathedral in London on 26 June 2018, and will be awarded a £1,000 prize. A runner up will be awarded a £500 prize.

The five shortlisted projects are listed below:

  • Living with Dementia, Chatty Cafe and Chatty Crochet, at Hope Baptist Chapel, Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire
    Repair and redevelopment work on the chapel and community rooms have made possible these linked projects aimed at older people, which provide a caring and safe environment to develop social networks and practical support. 
  • New to the UK, at North Shields Baptist Church, Tyne and Wear
    Installing accessible toilets and heating and drain renovations provide space for a drop-in for people who are new to this country, providing a friendly welcome, a supportive community, help with English, and access to food and household goods. 
  • Book Cafe, at St Mary Magdalene Church, Thorrington, Essex
    Installation of an accessible toilet and reordering of some pews to create a social space has enabled a monthly cafe with home-made cakes and a book exchange to address loneliness and isolation in this rural community. 
  • Olly's Friendship Room, at St Michael and All Angels Church, Upper Sapey, Herefordshire
    The creation of a warm, comfortable meeting room for the whole community to use provides space for groups including a film club, astronomy club, table tennis and a baby and toddler group, with an emphasis on caring for mental health in the community.
  • WWII Audio Tour, at SS Peter, Paul and St Philomena, Wirral Peninsula
    Repairs and redevelopment have created an accessible toilet, kitchenette, shop, and social space, with, among other activities, a free WWII audio tour for primary schools and the local community to tell the story of how this church helped people during the Blitz and how it earned its nickname.

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.

Judges for the Marsh Innovative Church Project Awards are: Luke March DL, Chairman of the National Churches Trust; Emily Reeves and Annie McCarthy, from the Marsh Christian Trust; and Sam Jones, Managing Director of community music organisation Soundthread

Find out more about the five shortlisted projects