Sunderland Connect Network has acquired a new building with the help of Spring Harvest Funding and the involvement of several different organisations.
Not only does it provide an office space and meeting place for Sunderland Connect Network itself but it is also housing the following organisations:
Action Foundation – Working with Refugees and Asylum seekers
Cornerstone North East – A fostering and adoption agency
Junction 42 – A job club for ex-offenders and running CAP job club
Sunderland Foodbank – The central office and warehouse supplying other food banks in the area
Make Your Way – Working with ex-offenders in furniture restoration
The grant from Spring Harvest was a huge blessing and really moved forward the plan to get a building. This new place really represents the unity that already existed in Sunderland.
Connecting with the Council
There has been significant steps forward with the Council in addressing the issue of poverty. Connect has facilitated a conversation the council that has led to strategic action in this area. One of the outcomes has been to bring strategic coordination to the local Foodbanks. With the help of Durham Christian Partnership, a co-ordinator has been appointed and the central warehouse has been set up. They’ve got a network of 7 locations and have joined with the Trussell Trust which supports a national network of Foodbanks. Please keep this work in your prayers.
Sunderland Connect is now facilitating a Connect Conversation with the council around the issue of homelessness. They wish to go beyond the outward issues and get into the underlying causes of poverty and homelessness, positioning themselves to signpost those in need to get help.
The Council is realising that the churches are often in direct contact with the most vulnerable people in Sunderland. Connect has now become the Council’s point of contact for the church network giving the Churches a position of influence in Council matters.
Connecting the Churches
Sunderland Connect continues to hold weekly prayer meetings and Monthly lunches with church leaders from across the city. The monthly lunches are sometimes an opportunity to learn about different organisations who come to present or to assess what the Network is doing to represent the churches and how it can do even better.
Sunderland Connect Network currently consists of:
Deb Fozzard as Director
A board of 7 Trustees
A small group of key volunteers
They are applying for Charitable status right now so please keep that in your prayers.
Their Key aims are:
Building Relationships – They have become a central point for Christian communities and are building bridges with the Council and other organisations
Developing Communications – They run a website and a monthly newsletter for the christian community. Collating resources and information and sharing that with the whole network. They partner with the council and empower churches through coordinating training and publicising projects and programs.
Creating Opportunities – They highlight opportunities for churches and the community to connect.