Paula Nelson - Project Worker, Bishop Paul, David Tomlinson

 Paula Nelson - Project Worker, Bishop Paul, David Tomlinson

Paula Nelson – Project Worker, Bishop Paul, David Tomlinson
The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham has praised the work of a Shildon based Church project for having the vision for being a good community. The Bishop was speaking at the opening of the Shildon Alive project hub funded by the Big Lottery and run by St John’s church in the Anglican Diocese of Durham. Housed in a shop front in the town centre, the project hub is designed to bring together initiatives such as a community garden, a food bank, access to a credit union services and a range of other services all under one roof. The idea is to provide a one-stop-shop access for life giving services that can transform the community of Shildon, creating a brighter, better future for everyone. Bishop Paul said: “The whole business of having a vision for a good community, one where everyone has an interest, a stake and proper pride is the essential ingredients of a creating flourishing and vibrant community. Shildon is the kind of community that already has a real sense of wanting to be a good community, but this project will take that vision even further.” The Revd David Tomlinson, Vicar of St John Church and Chair of Shildon Alive said: “The difference between this project and others is that we are about a flexible community rooted response, a response that allows people to build relationships with others that undermines the isolation that often the people on the margins of our society struggle with. “This hub gives people the space and opportunity to come in, explore their own problems and concerns, make friends, get support, gain access to advice and essential life giving resources and services and maybe even volunteer to put something back into the community. “A good example of that is a young man that came in last week. He was homeless and we were able to find him somewhere to stay. He returned the next day and helped paint the back wall of the hub and now wants to be involved in one of the community gardens. This was a great opportunity to channel his energies and to give him an opportunity to meet more people and for him to be valued as a person rather than be seen as someone that was in a difficult position.”
 Bishop Paul, David Tomlinson

Bishop Paul, David Tomlinson
The project received £196,189 funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities Programme and successful in its bid application because it sets out to transform the community and the lives of its people through improve the health, confidence and skills of more than 2,000 local people through gardening and work experience. The project is aimed at supporting people who may have poor physical and mental health through long-term unemployment, food poverty and a lack of facilities and activities. Tracey Bellas, Deputy Town Clerk for Shildon Town Council said: ”Already we can see the ‘hub’ making a difference with many people using it for a variety of reasons. I am sure it is going to go from strength to strength, where people will come for help which is much needed.” Bishop Paul said: “When people have an interest, a sense of a stake of belonging in their community that’s when they start taking pride in it. When you take something that needs some TLC and start to develop it and make it better, then people want to look after it and then they start to want to look after every aspect of their town and the community.
 Bishop Paul, addresses teh guests at the official opening of Shildon Alive

Bishop Paul, addresses teh guests at the official opening of Shildon Alive
“Shildon Alive is a magnificent example of a project that already has a vision for being a good community. What it has the potential for doing is helping the whole community to have a brighter, better vision of what it could be as a good community, one in which everyone has proper pride and then bringing that into being. “Surely that is why the Church has to be involved, because we are about a vision of a better, brighter community where all people are honoured and recognised and where they go on to find their true fulfilment.”  

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