Last Friday Emma had the opportunity to visit West Harton Churches Action Station. This charitable company was founded in 1998 by members of the local Anglican, Methodist, and Catholic churches working together with members of the community. A victim of its own success, the Action Station had to move to bigger premises this year as the services provided continue to grow. Situated in an area of high unemployment and social deprivation, the overall goals of the organisation are to reduce social isolation, improve the job readiness of the individual, increase the overall health of the community and to promote individuals working together for the benefit of the local community. A team of paid staff and volunteers deliver a broad range of activities including IT, literacy, numeracy, craft and photography sessions as well as running a community cafe and providing social opportunities. Individuals access the services for a variety of reasons, to improve different areas of their life, to learn, to meet people and enjoy themselves. This year they are looking to secure additional funding to re-instate their debt advice service, investigate opportunities to partner with other organisations and extend their healthy cooking project, and explore options to support the personal development of those people who have opted for direct payments channel of social care.
On the day Emma was able to see for herself some of the activities such as the jewellery making group and the digital inclusion project, and she was delighted to be able to sample the cafés delicious food. Emma said, ‘ The visit was inspirational, no matter who I spoke to – paid staff, board members, volunteers – everyone radiated passion and enthusiasm for the work being undertaken in the Action Station. West Harton Churches Action Station is an excellent example of local people being committed to improving and supporting their local community. It is inspiring to see what ordinary, hardworking people are doing to help other members of their community to cope with the challenges of the current cost of living crisis which still divides our society’.
If you want to know more about the Action Station you can contact them on 0191 4558122 or take a look at their website at www.actionstation.org.uk.