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Charity highlights Norwich church social action

Oak Grove Community Church has been celebrated by Cinnamon Network for the social action work it does in North Norwich, Peter Bending reports.

Recently, the church welcomed Kate Sharma from Cinnamon and a film crew to capture and share the projects serving the community at Oak Grove.


“We were incredibly honoured to hear that, as part of their 10th Anniversary Incubator Programme celebrations, Cinnamon wanted to come to North Norwich to capture the essence of our long-standing outreach within our community in the shape of a film that will be shown at the celebration evening in London on November 15,” said Darren Woodward, senior leader of Oak Grove.


Oak Grove Community Church first encountered Cinnamon Network, which helps equip churches for social action in their communities, in 2014 when they accessed a Micro Grant to set up a Make Lunch Project.


Since then, the church has set up further grant-funded projects with the help of Cinnamon. Linking Lives, a befriending service for the lonely and isolated, was pioneered as a telephone service during lockdown and earlier this year they launched Renew Wellbeing. Renew is a weekly calm space for parents who are struggling to come and be amongst crafts, quiet games, conversations, and prayer.


In addition to these initiatives, the church has two well established Cinnamon recommended projects: Community Money Advice supports those struggling with debt to become debt-free and learn to manage their finances long-term, and family support group Kids Matter.


“Kids Matter has probably been the key catalyst to the launch and growth of our family support work, and it’s also been the most significant outreach tool we have used certainly in recent years,” said Darren.


“All of these initiatives are much more than a ‘project’ though, motivated by our faith they have enabled us to build trusted relationships within the community and we have been able to connect people with other church activities and support them in exploring what faith in Jesus could look like for themselves,” said Darren.


In the blog post reflecting on her time in Norwich, Kate wrote, “In the midst of the routine and the struggle of life, there is something truly amazing taking place at Oak Grove Community Church.”


“We had a great day being involved in the filming process, with Kate Sharma from Cinnamon and the film crew from The Fuelcast being really encouraging as they scratched the surface of life in Catton Grove,” said Darren.


Aside from the direct project funding of the Micro Grants, Cinnamon provides support and encouragement through contact with their advisors, webinars and teaching, and the dedicated coaching that makes up the two-year Incubator Programme. Churches in Norfolk can now apply for a Micro Grant to kick start a Cinnamon recommended project. Applications close on December 1.


Find out more and apply for a Micro Grant at cinnamonconnect.co.uk

Read Kate’s report on cinnamonnetwork.co.uk

Photo by Kate Sharma from Cinnamon Network


Peter Bending, 08/08/2023

Read the full article here

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