South London-based social action project wins national prize

On Monday, 18 June, South London-based project Healthy Church Initiative fought off stiff competition to become Cinnamon Project Lab 2018 winner at The Mercers’ Hall in London.

This is the third year that Cinnamon Network has run Project Lab, and this year the focus was on finding local, community projects that respond to social needs in Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic communities.

Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) does this by providing a six-week health intervention which educates and transforms nutritional health in Black – African Caribbean churches and communities.
All projects had to submit a formal application along with a short video about their work. The finalists then undertook a communications masterclass before presenting their initiative in front of a panel of judges and more than 120 guests at Mercers’ Hall in London.

Thanks to the generosity of The Mercers’ Company, the winners will each receive a development grant of £30,000, plus entry onto the Cinnamon Incubator Programme where they will benefit from: expert coaching, world class training, targeted marketing and access to industry and government contacts. This support will help the initiatives to develop to a point where they can be replicated in other churches across the UK.

“The support from Cinnamon has been fantastic. We have been like brothers and sisters. Everyone has been so lovely,” said Shola Oladipo from Healthy Church Initiative. “Winning means that we can support the church to go and do what the church is supposed to do – as well as alleviate pressure on stretched NHS resources –  it’s been amazing. Health and faith are closely linked and we encourage the church to become a healthy environment – we are part of the solution.”

As budget cuts continue to place added strain on local authorities, health services and police forces, churches and Christian charities are responding by providing innovative solutions to problems at the heart of our communities.

“It was a pleasure to be part of Cinnamon Project Lab 2018 and, once again, the finalists set us an incredible task,” said Hugh Stafford-Smith from Mercers’ Company who was also one of the Project Lab 2018 judges. “Every single finalist did their organisation proud and every project is a winner. What it came down to was impact – we were looking for initiatives that could make maximum impact. I am excited to see how each of the projects develop through the Cinnamon Project Incubator.”

Shola Oladipo

 

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