During the pandemic, our local church members felt unskilled and unready to respond in practical ways to the needs of the community. So they engaged actively by volunteering with other community groups to provide emergency support across the borough. From this extended period of community engagement and learning, we began both to see a pattern of need and to observe workable solutions. We realised that the church may still have an important role to play after all, by engaging with other community stakeholders to address these needs.
In a recent Torfaen council survey, our local community identified the following priorities: (1) anti-social behaviour, (2) food poverty, (3) young families at risk, (4) social exclusion and loneliness, and (5) litter and the environment. Hope for the Community will work to create and sustain local community-led responses to these needs by incubating the following projects in the church's town centre building: a Neighbourhood Watch, and additional activities for young people (to tackle anti-social behaviour); a Fareshare Hub (for food poverty); Mothers & Toddlers (for young families at risk); a neutral meeting place for the elderly and/or isolated (to tackle social exclusion) and a team of litter picking volunteers!