Many families find it hard to feed their children during the school holidays and this sad situation is now being recognised nationally. Neil Garlick, the Cornerstones Children and Families Worker is making arrangements for our Church to provide meals for needy families during the October and Christmas holidays. Families will come twice in each holiday and be encouraged to take part in activities for an hour before being given a hot meal. Volunteers will be needed to help with the meals and the activities. If you’d like to help please contact Neil or the office. This is another way in which Cornerstones is showing God’s love for the community around us.
The financial accounts for the year ended 31st August have now been finalised showing a surplus of £11,786. From a financial point of view 2018-19 has been our best year ever and exceeded our most optimistic predictions. Income from Room Hire was almost £85,000 , an increase of about £8,000 compared with the previous year. In the light of this windfall the Management Committee agreed to increase our contribution to Church funds by £5,000 to a total of £18,000 towards the costs of heating, lighting, cleaning etc. The additional income also allowed us to install a much needed new booking system at a cost of £3,600. The provisional budget for 2019-20 shows a surplus of £8,000 which includes the first instalment (£35,000) of the £120,000 grant over three years from the National Lottery, which was reported in last month’s Contact. We are fortunate that due to the strength of Cornerstones finances we continue to be in a position to fund both new initiatives and to support those which continue to operate on our premises.
As we begin our 10th year of Cornerstones it is, perhaps, timely to take stock of where we are and what we’ve achieved. Tremendous progress has been made and we now have around 50 organisations and activities taking place each week which cater for many of the various needs of the community around us. Our premises are almost fully booked each day.
- Social needs are met by groups such as Film-Making for young people with special needs, the Alzheimer’s Society ‘Singing for the Brain’, counselling groups such as Relate, and Future Focus for teenagers with autism.
- Children are catered for by the uniformed organisations, the toddlers’ groups, the Mobile Cinema and the Drama Tree.
- Fitness groups take Yoga, Pilates, Denchi Kai and ballroom dancing. Good health is promoted through several Slimming World groups, and the Stop Smoking clinic.
- Combating loneliness is helped by the coffee mornings, the Thursday lunches, the Saturday evening ‘Food Cycle’ and the listening service Hear4U.
- New skills are taught in the Computing classes and ‘Skills North East’ for people seeking work. As well as these weekly sessions we regularly run one-day courses in such things as Health and Safety and First Aid.
- Special interest groups are the Memory Lane Craft Group, the Rock Choir and the Argus Singers.
The Management Committee is constantly looking for new activities to launch and new ways to serve the community around us and they welcome any suggestions for new groups.
Looking at this list of activities it’s tempting to rest on our laurels and think that Cornerstones has achieved what it set out to do. However, when Cornerstones was launched our Church’s vision was to encourage people to share in the activities we provide and to play an active part in our wider church family. We’ve been tremendously successful in the former but much less so in the latter. Some progress has been made but, whilst many people do identify with our Church, there is still much work to be done in bridging the gap between the Cornerstones organisations and the Church itself. The preacher, Benson Andrew Idahosa said:
“Don’t tell me how big your mountain is to climb, tell your mountain how big your God is.”
The task we have set ourselves may be daunting but we can all pray that, with God’s help, we can lead more of the community into their own relationship with the God that we love and serve.