9 January, 2015
Impacting neighbourhoods and communities
Being church on a Sunday, being church during the week and being church to the community is what Jubilee Community Church (JCC) Worthing is all about. Through their charity INC (Impacting Neighbourhoods and Communities) and other developments, they are impacting the community through key social action projects.
Imagine losing your home and all your belongings in a fire. That’s what happened to a family of 10 in Worthing. They were given emergency accommodation, but it was an empty shell. JCC’s ReLoved project stepped in, providing everything the family needed from furniture down to toys and clothing.
Set up by the church following one couple’s vision, ReLoved aims to serve the local community by sourcing and providing free furniture and household items to those in desperate need. In just 2 years they have helped provide essentials to over 250 homes, all through the dedicated work of church and local volunteers, and the generosity of those donating.
And with every project JCC runs, there is always a listening ear, an invitation to the church community and an offer of prayer.
The church’s Friend N Need scheme offers caring volunteers to listen, befriend, support and encourage often elderly or disabled members of the community. Sometimes practical help is required so a former gardener, a self employed decorator/handyman and a band of compassionate volunteers step in to help out.
In collaboration with other churches in the town, JCC runs the local food bank, a language centre to equip students (currently 40 from 18 different nations) in English, a mums and tots group and a soup run. And as people are referred from a local agency for help in one of JCC’s projects, they are often then able to offer support through another project as they interlink and work together.
The experiences of ReLoved led to a soup run twice a week. With an existing soup run in the town, JCC liaised with local police services as not all nights of the week were covered. They chose Sunday as local police identified, through its nickname of ‘suicide Sunday’, the vital importance of providing a service on that particular night. The soup run doesn’t just provide hot food but a friendly listening ear, acceptance, encouragement and signposting to other sources of help.
But JCC is not just another good local charity. As church member Pat Anderson says, ‘We’re always church in whatever we do.’ Through building relationships on the soup run, the church has seen several homeless people visiting the church and two becoming Christians. As they care, they are starting to see lives transformed.
The church has connections with many local agencies, works with the local police, the council, serves on a homelessness forum and is viewed very positively as a local partner. With the number of projects run by a church of just over 200 people, there are numerous organisational and legal complexities. That’s why JCC felt nervous when their previous insurers didn’t seem to understand church or social action within a church context.
JCC felt compelled to find something better and were relieved to find Access Insurance. As Pat explains, ‘Access understand what we’re about, the kinds of activities we do. We don’t worry that they’ll be phased by whatever we suggest. They partner with us and make it work.’
That’s so reassuring as there are developmental projects in the pipeline for the future. Pat continues, ‘With Access, we know that whatever comes up, they’ve probably heard of it before and will know what to do. We know that we can trust what we’re hearing. They know the market.’
And practically, JCC knows they can rely on Access Insurance to help them whatever the issue and in a timely manner. Pat says, ‘Whatever my query, however silly my questions, they answer quickly and they reassure me.’
As specialists in both church and charity markets, Access Insurance is ideally placed to provide insightful help and advice to churches engaged in social action. Pat confirms, ‘I would definitely, without a doubt, recommend Access to other churches.’