Getting to know the Churn Project
Ailsa O'Connor, fundraiser for the Churn Project told me that they were set up in 2001 to help even out opportunities for people in Cirencester. Initially they focused on helping people improve their skills so they had better chances of finding work and concentrated on supporting people in Watermoor, Beeches and Chesterton. They’ve kept those parts of town as their core areas of support but now eveybody's welcome from all over Cirencester and nearby villages.
They’ve also now expanded the services they provide. It's not just about skills and employment now, they also support families and older people. The people that go to the Churn Project include young parents wanting antenatal support and at the other end of the scheme they have people in their 80s and 90s attending social groups. For those who live alone and can’t get to the Churn, there is the Good Neighbours scheme which provides volunteer visitors.
Some people come when they are new to the town and want to find out what's going on in Cirencester. There are also people looking for work who need help with their CVs and to look at what their aspirations might be. If they have any barriers to employment like literacy or numeracy the Churn Project see what they can do to help by referring them to the services that they run or to others elsewhere.
Apart from the core services, they occasionally offer training in things like wildlife management and blacksmithing, looking at some of the rural skills that it might be useful for people to develop. The Churn Project opens everyday during the week and it's a friendly place where they can direct you to the relevant organisation if they can't help you themselves.
The website is www.churnproject.org.uk