Community Group of the Year nominee – Fenton Church of Nazarene
A Stoke-on-Trent church that had been earmarked for closure due to dwindling congregations has reinvented itself as a hub of the community.
Fenton Church of Nazarene has launched four community groups over the past two years and now supports hundreds of people of all ages within the local community.
Minister Trevor Hutton was brought in to see if anything could be done to prevent the closure and to support vulnerable people within the community.
He brought together a band of volunteers and identified four key groups that needed help – people with emotional or mental health needs, people who had become, lonely, isolated or disconnected due to the pandemic, people with special needs and people affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia.
“This is a church that’s had a reimagination and a reinvention for the community,” said Trevor. It’s been reimagined for the community, with the community at its heart. We decided that it needed to be a home for the community.
“My role was the generate ideas and to bring in people from the community to support others in the community.
“The church was due to be closed but I was asked to have a look to see if anything could be done.”
Community groups the church now runs include Little Lights sessions which bring together around 50 families each week including babies, toddlers, parents and carers. There’s food, snacks and people are helped with nappies and baby clothes where needed.
Coffee Stop is a free, weekly inter-generational session that regularly attracts more than 30 people which Trevor says supports people with ‘lots of diverse needs’.
Golden Memories, in collaboration with North Staffs Carers, runs every other week to provide support for people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their families.
The fourth group, The Lunch Club, welcomes an age span running from babies to people in their 90s. It offers free food, company and emotional support and aims to bring about social cohesion.
Other plans currently in progress include a toddler clothing bank.
Fenton Church of Nazarene has been nominated as a Community Group of the Year in the Your Heroes Awards by Matthew Fry.
He said: “The Fenton Church of Nazarene have a great community group that organise a Lunch with Laughter on a Monday morning. They run a todder group which is run through donations and a coffee morning. This is for the local community to attend and everyone is made very welcome by the church volunteers.”
Trevor Hutton added: “It’s an honour to be nominated for an award and I’m sure there are many other worthy community groups. It’s a privilege but I recognise that we’re one small piece of the jigsaw and stand alongside other brilliant organisations to do our part to add value within the community.”
“Our reward is seeing the lives that are impacted and transformed from the work we’ve been doing.”