Marsh Church and Community Heroes Awards 2020

Congratulations SHINE and St Stephen’s volunteers! We won the Marsh Church and Community Heroes Awards 2020.

Along with seven other churches across the UK, our volunteers at St Stephen’s church have been recognised for their help, kindness and support to local people and communities through this difficult year. This is what the Marsh Christian Trust had to say about why they felt us deserving:

SHINE is an organisation set up by St Stephen’s church to promote Social, Health, Inner, Natural and Emotional wellbeing.

The church was on the verge of closure 16 years ago but, thanks to the efforts of the local community, it has now become a thriving community base which supports everyone, no matter their background or religious beliefs. 

Throughout the pandemic, the church has supported the most vulnerable in the community through the provision of food parcels and a pamphlet to help families produce cheap but nutritious meals. They have also formed a clothes bank for children and have moved support group meetings online throughout this time.

The church is located in an area of deprivation, and the activities run by SHINE are of invaluable help to the community. 

Sarah Hinton received the award and prize of £1,000 presented by Tom Sheldon of the Mercer’s Company at the National Churches Trust’s Local Treasures event, held on Friday 11 December 2020, saying:

“This is a wonderful surprise. On behalf of everyone at St Stephen’s, we are delighted to receive the award. It’s almost a story of resurrection… the stones speak our story.”

The other winning churches are:
Scotland: St Mary the Virgin, Port Glasgow
Scotland: Houston & Killellan Kirk, Houston
England: Sacred Heart church, Tamworth
Northern Ireland: Mount Merrion Parish Church, Belfast
Northern Ireland: Bloomfield Presbyterian Church, Belfast
Wales: St Cynhafal, Llangynhafal
Wales: Morriston Tabernacle, Morriston

“Many congratulations to everyone at St Stephen’s church, on winning this award this year.

2020 has been an unprecedented year with many new challenges for us all.

We saw an extraordinary response in voluntary efforts to help people through the initial Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent uncertainties. Church communities were frequently at the forefront of vital local initiatives to help people in need.

Church buildings generate at least £12.4 billion every year through volunteers, food banks, mental health support and much more. We think that is remarkable.

These awards recognise the huge amount of good work that volunteers undertake every year in churches across the UK.”

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust

Read more about the Awards at

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