Watnall Road Baptist Church is building strong partnerships to increase its reach and impact across Nottingham.We’ve been fans of the team at Watnall Road since our paths first crossed in 2015. Among the projects they run are three Cinnamon Recommended Projects: Renew Wellbeing, Street Pastors and Welcome Churches to support those arriving in their community from other parts of the world.
The congregation of 100+ adults will be supporting around 360 individuals through a total of five community projects in the next year. When we say, community initiatives, that’s exactly what they are.
The key to community engagement is its relevance and integration with the local community. We love the way Watnall Road are meeting real needs at the heart of the community and also tapping into the wider network of support available.
We’ve been delighted to play a small part in this by introducing the team to other churches in the area with a similar passion. As Simon Robinson, Lead Minister at the church, explains,
“Cinnamon also provided links to other groups such as Transform Notts, which has been a fruitful partnership.”
Bringing community together
Of course, COVID forced us all to think differently about our communities and the way we interacted with them. Here at Cinnamon, we were keen to share our experiences to help others shape their response.
“On advice from Cinnamon, we got in touch with the local council at the beginning of the pandemic and became part of the local hub as a coordinated response to the needs of the local community,” continues Simon.
“Church staff have accessed Cinnamon Connect both as an online learning platform and as webinars and online training. It provided training and support that they would not normally access through our existing networks.”
As they connected with more and more local groups, the church quickly became a hub for activity in the local area. As well as running their own activities, they were able to help coordinate efforts of smaller groups in the area. “This meant local responses could be part of the Hub and recognised by statutory services as a valid response,” explains Simon.
Responding to local needs
Looking to the future, the church has ambitions to develop the Hub even further. Needs vary from community to community, and, in light of rising fuel costs, people need to be able to get support close to home.
“There is some good coordinated working the city of Nottingham, but we are wanting more of an Ashfield/Mansfield Hub as people don’t want to access services in the city centre,” says Simon.
Here at Cinnamon, we’ll continue to support them any way we can. “We really appreciate the added value that Cinnamon brings to our staff and volunteers through the training connection and encouragement s. The way they’ve connected us with other partners has been invaluable,” concludes Simon.
About the blog author
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.