A CHAPEL which helped support people in Halstead through the pandemic has been awarded for its service to the community.

The Stambourne Chapel, in Stambourne just north of Halstead, was handed a serving the community award for work in the area and their innovative community care initiative.

The awards celebrate the hard work of churches that demonstrate extraordinary commitment to their communities, and Stambourne’s ‘Chapel Care’ programme stood out for its bold vision.

Starting up in February 2021 in response to the pandemic, and now covering ten villages in rural northwest Essex, Chapel Care was able to successfully organise a range of services for people who would otherwise have little or no outside contact during lockdown.

These include home care, transport to hospital appointments, help with food shopping, and even dog walking.

Stambourne Chapel Care is recognised by doctors, other health professionals and by care providers and social prescribers as a trusted professional organisation.

The service responds to both regular and emergency requests with a team of well-trained volunteers.

The project lead, Jill Holmes, was able to connect people with appropriate care, and also found employment opportunities for vulnerable people in the community.

The chapel also runs coffee mornings and an afternoon social club at the church, and more recently has responded to the crisis in Ukraine, helping people contribute items for the families affected.

They also support people through life changes such as divorce and bereavement.

The chapel was nominated by someone who had benefitted from the programme.

It won the award along with a £2,000 cash prize at a ceremony this month. 

Jill said: “This is for all of our members and volunteers who not only do the work but take the time to listen to those we serve – providing real comfort and fellowship.”

Stambourne Chapel now plans to use the prize money to help fund work to update their kitchen so they can provide weekly lunches for those in need and refurbish other facilities.