Celebrating Your Outstanding Contributions
Every year CCT recognises the incredible support and outstanding contributions of the community supporters and volunteers who help to care for our churches at the Community Supporter and Volunteer Evening culminating in the Community Supporter and Volunteer of the Year Awards. Generously supported by the Marsh Charitable Trust, the event took place on 15th March. For the third year in a row, it was held virtually over Zoom.
Once everyone had settled in behind their screens and Judith Patrick, Head of Region, North, had covered all the necessary technological housekeeping, the evening began with a welcome speech by our Chair of the Board of Trustees, Liz Peace CBE. Attendees then heard from Greg Pickup, CCT Chief Executive. This was Greg's first time attending this event since joining as Chief Executive.
This was followed by the announcements of the Marsh Charitable Trust Community Supporter and Volunteer of the Year Awards winners for each of the seven categories.
If you missed it then you can find the case study videos over on CCTdigital.
Community Supporter and Volunteer of the Year Awards 2023 Winners:
The All Stars Volunteers
The volunteers at All Saints’ (aka the All Saints’ All Stars) launched their project to welcome more visitors to Cambridge’s Painted Church in autumn 2021. As a small team they didn’t have the resources to open the church every day so decided to organise events that would appeal to the widest possible audience.
Penny Robson undertook to find musicians and so, on October 3, 2021, Music @All Saints’ was born. With no website, social media or mailing list the volunteers advertised through posters and word of mouth. Despite this, over fifty music lovers came to that first concert, and the All Stars realised how much more they could achieve if they had a presence on social media. And so, inspired by this initial success the volunteers quickly upped their game, developing a … website and setting up accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. An account was also set up with Mail chimp and regular email campaigns are sent to the growing mailing list (now nearly 400), and advance sales are booked through Eventbrite. Recent diagnostics from Mailchimp show that the mailing list is of a very high quality “with over 57% highly likely to purchase again”.
Since that first recital in October 2021 audience numbers continue to grow as recent events demonstrate; the Christmas concert with Granta Chorale was over subscribed and it was wonderful to see over 200 people participating in the Ceremony of Carols.
Judith has long family links to the Battlefield church, with her father one of our former long standing volunteers, who would open and close the church on a daily basis and meet and greet our many visitors. Sadly with her fathers passing the church went through a period of key access only, which saw a decline in visitor numbers and donations.
Judith took up the mantle her father left, opening and closing the church on a daily basis which has seen a significant increase in visitors and donations, combined with being instrumental in support for a re wilding project of the churchyard, through identifying all of the current wild flowers that exist within the area, along with their locations. This has enabled with support from the local PCC a cutting regime of the churchyard allowing both flower and grasses to flourish, identifying locations of orchids and reducing the maintenance costs for the PCC.
Without Judith's daily commitment to the church the building would still be through key access, reduced visitor numbers and donations in turn.
In October 2022 Elston Chapel was subject to vandalism which caused damage to the windows and interior church wall fabric. I met with the Church Warden Ivor Walker on site shortly after the vandalism took place and he told me that he was planning to host a bonfire night event on his land to help fundraise towards the broken windows. The bonfire night event took place and raised £500.00 towards the chapel repairs. This was a remarkable turnaround, within a month of the vandalism taking place, Ivor organised, held the event and presented me with a cheque! A truly remarkable achievement in a small village. Ivor and his family have been church wardens for a generations including his father, himself and his daughter.
Team of the Year
Volunteer Team at St George's
The St George’s team held their first Flower Festival and Coronation Celebration event, partnered with Dorset Wildlife Trust and local botanists to ensure that their volunteer led churchyard maintenance project is as beneficial to the biodiversity of the vast graveyard as it is pleasing to the 20,000 visitors St George’s has each year. The team held yet another very successful Summer Celebration and their second annual Light-up event this Christmas. They have providing guided tours of the church and regular guided tours of the churchyard.
They have also expanded their range of merchandise to optimise fundraising opportunities in the church and successfully taken on the challenge of piloting a contactless payment machine.
They have a remarkable wealth of skills and knowledge that they give generously to maintain the church and welcome visitors, showing them all the delights of St George’s.
Supporter of the Year - North
Since vesting in 2018, Adrian has been one of the main points of contact for the Trust.
As Churchwarden he has an extensive knowledge of the history of the church and area as well as the people associated with St Peter's, past and present. He has put together an interesting history of the church in the form of a booklet.
During the lengthy period of when conservation works were ongoing, Adrian kept an eye on the church, unlocking for contractors and keeping the Gamston residents up to date with what was happening.
Whilst conservation work was taking place on the church interior Adrian got together a group of villagers who meet monthly to keep the chuchyard in good order and improve it for visitors and wildlife. Some of the group have since gone on to be involved with the group looking after the church.
After the initial opening in December 2021, the church couldn't be fully opened to visitors because of ongoing work to the memorials. During this period, Adrian and his wife Sarah organised events that could be supervised, such as guided walks and talks and Foodie Fridays, where villagers would get together in the church bringing their own food and get to know each other better. A Christmas Fair in December 2022 raised over £400 for the Trust and attracted visitors from across the region. On the hottest (40 degrees C) days of the summer, Adrian opened up the church as a sanctuary to escape from the heat, an initiative well received by some residents!
Supporter of the Year - North
NOMINATION ONE Bobby has been a dedicated volunteer steward for over 10 years. Her love of this unique building, with it's personal story and historic and social importance, is shared enthusiastically with our increasing numbers of visitors. A founder member of the Friends group and Treasurer, her dedication to her role and to ensuring we can finance our aims of making the Mausoleum a thriving community space drives our many and varied fundraising activities. From launching the "100 Club" to "Chocabola" at local Christmas markets and "Buy A Pane" for our current project to restore the remaining 3 windows and allow us to turn an used chapel and vestry into a meeting room and office - Bobby is the driving force. The team feel it is appropriate that her dedication and continuing hard work be recognised at this time.
NOMINATION TWO For over ten years Bobby has played a significant role in raising the profile of Milton Mausoleum. She began as a steward when we open on Sundays in the summer and when the Friends group was formed took on the role of Treasurer. She has been a driving force in the success of this group and spends much time promoting the Mausoleum.
She has a passion for local history, and played an active role in researching the Newcastle archives as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund project. As a long standing Milton resident, her knowledge of local families has been invaluable in developing the story of Milton Mausoleum.
Bobby is full of ideas - she sees things that need doing and does them.
Supporter of the Year - South East
Paul has gathered members of the neighbourhood to turn an unloved church into a community hub, hosting many unusual and creative events to raise money for the church and the CCT. From a Black tie dinner, to Farmer's markets, Christmas buffets and sales to Afternoon Teas, Paul and his team have attracted many visitors to the church who now appreciate the beauty of the building, and the work of the CCT. He has contributed to other projects in the LCO area which helps the volunteers and supporters of other churches as well.
Supporter of the Year - West
Rupert Hardy is an active supporter of his local church, St Andrew's in Winterborne Tomson as well as the wider network of CCT churches in Dorset.
Rupert organises an annual concert at St Andrew's and hosts a post concert reception at his home, The Manor, which is opposite St Andrew's. The last concert raised an impressive £747, which is remarkable given the capacity of this tiny Norman church. Rupert and his family also host drinks and mince pies after the annual Advent Service. Rupert produce a delightful video about the history of St Andrew's to reach a wider audience and encourage visitors during lockdown and has worked with the Local Community Officer suggesting new ways to promote text and online donations inside CCT churches as well as coordinating annual lunches where volunteers from all CCT Dorset churches share news and best practice and get an update from CCT staff. The last lunch in January had 7 Dorset churches represented and generated healthy discussion about fundraising events and promoting text and online donation in Dorset churches.