Great ideas need to be shared! We love the willingness of Restore Church Boston to share its journey of community development with others.
When we first met Restore Church in Boston in the summer of 2021, they were already pretty busy. With a soup kitchen, four supported living houses, a food delivery service, schools work, and a Restore pantry to name but a few, they had plenty of initiatives in the community.
But communities are continually developing, needs are changing, and there is always more to learn. The team recognised that there were many families in need of support. When they discovered Kids matter and needed support they were reminded that it was a cinnamon network recommended project which led to them applying for a Cinnamon Micro-Grant
Here they discovered there was more than just funding on offer. “Cinnamon helped us complete the application form as we didn’t have much experience in that area,” explains Tammy Vickers, Associate Pastor at Restore Church.
That was just the start. As Tammy points out, “community engagement can be quite lonely at times,” which is why the church was delighted that Cinnamon provided so much more than just money. Through Cinnamon Connect we love bringing together social activists, church leaders, and volunteers from across the country who are active in their communities.
“We know that churches in deprived areas like ours often get overlooked for support, but we can see Cinnamon’s commitment to local communities like ours and their connections, advice, and support makes a huge difference,” says Tammy.
It’s been great to see Restore Church was already working with Cinnamon Recommended Project Green Pastures, to support those who are homeless in their community. Having successfully established four houses to support those experiencing homelessness in the town, the church has another project in sight.
“We are now looking to take on an additional building project in the town with 22 beds, training space, café, and assessment area,” explains Tammy. “This will be part of a bigger plan to ensure that we can support homeless people at whatever part of their journey.”
Through nine projects, including Kids Matter and the four Green Pastures homes, the church estimates that they’ll be supporting around 4,097 people next year. This is a phenomenal number for a church of 86 adult members.
While the numbers are impressive, it’s the individual lives that really matter. As a community rooted in the community, the initiatives that Restore Church are involved with don’t so much serve the community as work with them.
Pete* is a wonderful example. After years of struggling with criminal behaviour and drug abuse, he got involved with the church’s housing project. A few months into his relationship with the church things began to change. He went from receiving support to encouraging others on the programme.
As Tammy explains, “It was clear that his experiences and empathy with others in a similar situation made him a great advocate and support for those in contact with our projects.” To cut a long story short, he now works 12 hours a week as a Peer Mentor with new residents and is continuing to develop his skills.
It’s been wonderful to watch Restore Church grow over the past year, and we’re excited about the future.
Kate has spent her career working in communications for a variety of UK and international charities. With a passion for words, Kate also contributes blogs, article and content for publications across the UK and beyond.