Cinnamon UK

Project Lab 2020 is more important than ever

While we’re focused on the present needs, our churches need to have a long term plan to support their communities. Cinnamon Project Lab 2020 will help them do just that.

Right now most of us are taking stock of government guidelines and making adjustment to cope. We’re changing the way we work, the way we worship, the way we connect.

As we all live day-to-day, adjusting our lives in line with the latest developments and government advice, it’s hard to get any perspective on life.

None of us can make plans more than a few days in advance and the future feels like an abstract concept somewhere on the other side of a huge mountain.

Yet we know that this pandemic will end.

And when it does, we’ll have to pull together like never before to rebuild our communities. Here at Cinnamon we want to help churches to be in the best position to do just that. We want to make sure that the UK Church can be the blessing to their community that God calls us to be.

We’re already seeing the impact that COVID-19 is having. People are already being laid off, others are being asked to take unpaid leave, and more casualties will follow as the economy slows down.

The Poorest are affected the most

While we’ll all feel the impact – the poorest among us will undoubtedly feel it the hardest. We know that heart disease, asthma, diabetes, lung disease – conditions that make us more vulnerable to coronavirus – all disproportionately impact those living in poverty.

Beyond the physical vulnerabilities, there are the huge economic ones too. Who will feed the 1.5 million children eligible for free school meals now the schools are closed? How will zero-hours contract workers pay their rent if they are laid off?

The housing crisis will get worse

While none of us know what the future will be, it’s pretty clear that things will get worse – particularly for the most vulnerable within our communities.

An estimated 8.4 million people in the UK are already living in unaffordable, insecure and unsafe accommodation. Since 2010, there’s been a 74% increase in the number of people in temporary accommodation across England, and, in light of current events, that number looks set to increase.

We, as the Church, have a responsibility to do something.

Churches across the country are already responding to the needs of their community and many are running Cinnamon Recommended Projects, such as Hope into Action, Housing Justice Night Shelter, and Green Pastures to do so.

These projects are changing lives. And their work is more vital than ever. We want to find even more initiatives, like these, that provide tried and tested best practice initiatives that other churches can use to great effect.

Project Lab 2020

Through Project Lab 2020, we want to find church-based projects that are helping those with housing needs and building community that want to grow and replicate their work through churches across the UK.

The types of project that will be considered could include:

  • Tenancy training
  • Advice and advocacy
  • Mentoring and befriending
  • Hosting or hospitality
  • Resident engagement
  • Community self-help
  • Supported accommodation
  • Co-living schemes
  • Temporary use of empty properties

The list above is not prescriptive. We would welcome applications from projects that are responding to housing need in other ways.

£30,000 prize and professional support

Two competition winners will receive a £30,000 development grant each, and there are up to five places available on the Cinnamon Project Incubator.

The past few weeks have really brought things into perspective. If you know of any church initiatives that fulfil the criteria, please forward this email and ask them to consider entering. 

The deadline to enter the Cinnamon Project Lab competition is 5pm on Monday 20 April 2020, with the final taking place later this year.

Please share with any churches who may be interested.