Cinnamon Project Lab 2019 Winners Announced

Through the 2019 Cinnamon Project Lab competition, which launched back in March, Cinnamon UK have been searching the length and breadth of the UK for innovative, community-led social action projects that are making a difference to the health and wellbeing of their communities.  

You can read the 2019 Project Lab Final brochure HERE.

The campaign was viewed online more than 17,000 times, 250 projects registered their interest and 48 full applications were received. The quality of entrants was exceptional and the judging panel had an unenviable task of whittling them down to just five finalists.  

On Tuesday 25 June, these five finalists presented their ideas in front of judges and a panel of invited guests at the 2019 Cinnamon Project Lab Final.  

The five projects that made it to the final were:  

Emerge – youth workers who support young people attending A&E because of self-harm;

Flourish -which encourages the mental well-being of young women  

Life Guards Healthy Hearts – which teaches young people about their health 

Mum2Mum – which supports vulnerable young mums 

Truth Be Told intergenerational storytelling groups   

You can watch and hear the experience of the Project Lab finalists HERE

Inspirational pitches  

To say these projects were inspirational is something of an understatement! All of the initiatives have been born out of a single spark of an idea, often initiated by a personal experience. They have scrimped, saved and battled really hard to get their projects off the ground and into the community where they are clearly changing lives.  

The judges had an unenviable task of choosing winners from the impressive field, but the two winners were announced as Emerge and Truth Be Told  

Surrey-based Emerge enables trained, Christian volunteers to support young people attending Accident and Emergency departments as a result of self-harm or attempted suicide.  

Dorset-based Truth Be Told is bridging the gap between generations as 0-4’s, their parents and residents of dementia care homes enjoy storytelling, singing songs and being community together.  

“It’s a huge honour,” said Joy Wright, founder of Emerge. “We actually applied for Project Lab in 2017 and didn’t get through, but the process then helped us to change and improve what we were doing, so it’s incredible to come back and win.” 

“It feels an enormous privilege,” said Gemma Gillard, founder of Truth Be Told. “Through the process I’ve become even more sure that the church network is a solution to very big problem.”  

Development grant and incubator support 

Thanks to the generosity of The Mercers’ Company, the winning projects will each receive a development grant of £30,000, plus entry onto the coveted two-year Cinnamon Project Incubator 

The programme is designed specifically to help church-led social action projects develop strong governance, robust leadership and the knowledge and expertise they need to replicate their work.  

In addition to the top prizes, more than £61,500 was pledged on the night by guests at the event, to support the development of the all finalists including the runners up. As a result, all of the five finalists have secured places on the two-year Cinnamon Project Incubator programme.  

Healthcare challenges 

The challenges faced by the NHS are well-documented and the Project Lab finalists show that communities can offer effective, sustainable solutions to help ease the burden.  

Through the Cinnamon Project Incubator, the projects will have the opportunity to develop the foundations they need to replicate their work for the benefit of communities across the country. 

“We firmly believe that the church can be part of the solution to some of our communities most pressing needs. This year’s five Project Lab finalists are already hugely professional organisations and we are excited to watch them develop through the Cinnamon Project Incubator, so that they can benefit even more communities across the UK,” said Amanda Bindon, Co-Chief Executive of Cinnamon UK.    

Previous winners 

The Cinnamon Project Incubator has a proven track record of taking small projects and helping them grow into nation-wide organisations. A great example is that of Renew Wellbeing, which helps churches to provide café-style spaces to support individuals with their mental health. 

Renew Wellbeing was a joint winner of Cinnamon Project Lab in 2016. Through the Cinnamon Project Incubator programme, the project has developed to become a nationwide organisation with 27 franchises across the UK.

You can watch and hear the experience of the Project Lab finalists HERE

Find out more about the Cinnamon Project Incubator  

Find out more about the 2019 Project Lab Finalists  


This Project Lab was hosted and funded by The Mercers’ Company, and based on our health research which was kindly funded by AllChurches Trust.