Faith volunteers are worth £7.5 million to Havering
- Credit: Archant
Each year 4,240 volunteers give up 739,051 hours to support 496 community projects led by churches and other faith groups across Havering.
Christian charity, Cinnamon Network, has audited the impact of faith groups and estimates volunteers and paid staff are worth £7,495,491 to the borough.
The Cinnamon Faith Action Audit was launched at Romford Town Hall, last week, by Gary Seithel, chairman of Across Havering.
He said: “We sponsored the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit because we wanted to discover what loving our community looks like, to get the big picture that will encourage those hard at work, and display the nature of the God we represent.”
Representatives from Hope4Havering, street pastors, Collier Row foodbank and debt charity Christians Against Poverty spoke about their work during the event.
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Kim Merry, founder of Hope4Havering, estimated its night shelter had provided 12,000 bed spaces since it opened three years ago.
She said: “When we started three years ago, we hoped that the churches would get the vision.
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“We are based upon Christian values and very proud to offer beds to people regardless of their faith.”
Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, also spoke, alongside the Bishop of Barking, Peter Hill, and David Shosanya, director and regional minister of the London Baptist Association.
Mr Rosindell said he was proud of the services volunteers provide in the borough.
“Governments can’t provide everything and this sort of volunteering is fundamental to what we are about, he said.
“The one thing we should not forget is that this country was founded on Christianity – across our schools, churches and laws.”
On average, each church or faith group in Havering delivers seven projects worth £110,228 per year, providing support for 1,575 people.
Help provided includes family support, debt advice, emergency food parcels, night patrols and services for the disabled.
The audit shows the social impact as well as the economic value of church and faith groups, against the backdrop of budget cuts to Havering Council, which have limited its services.
Cinnamon Network hopes its audit will encourage local authorities to sign the All Party Parliamentary Group Covenant aiming to increase collaboration with faith groups.