CHURCHES and faith groups from across Thurrock have launched a powerful new report in association with UK charity Cinnamon Network today, providing clear evidence of the large scale social action impact and economic value these groups are having in the local community. The Cinnamon Faith Action Audit for Thurrock was release as part of National Faith Audit and is the most detailed and comprehensive report of its kind to date.
Among other crucial statistics the survey reveals that the time alone given by churches together and other faith groups through social action projects in the area was worth over Â£1.5 million, impacting over 22,000 people. On a national level this puts time given by UK faith groups into their communities at over Â£3 billion a year, supporting 48 million beneficiaries.
Local Champion Andrew Blakey with Transformation Thurrock and Thurrock Faith Matters worked hard to involve all types of faith groups to take part in the Thurrock Cinnamon Faith Action Audit in early February of this year. These faith groups meet a wide range of social needs including food poverty, debt and social isolation. The report highlighted that out of the 28 groups who responded over a 1000 volunteers contributed over 113,000 hours working in support of the community, and 89% were working in partnership with other organizations.
The report also disproved the stereotype of churches and faith groups predominantly working with women and children as it identified that paid staff and volunteers were actively working with people from all ages and with men and women in almost equal measure.
On a local level one of the Thurrock projects, Thurrock Lunch Club features in the national Cinnamon Faith Action Audit introduction video which can be found online here
Cinnamon Network’s aim in undertaking the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit nationally was to take a pragmatic approach and recognise that the new government will face a challenge in reducing the deficit. At a time when budget cuts, changes to benefits and rising housing costs are affecting people in most cities and towns across the UK statutory provision looks set to be increasingly limited for the foreseeable future, creating widening gaps in services. Cinnamon Network’s vision is to see local churches and other groups respond to this growing issue and build stronger relationships with local authorities, the police and other agencies.