Cinnamon Network projects delivers sweet results

23 July 2019 

Eleven children from Chiltern Primary School in Basingstoke celebrated a year of partnership working with grown up mentors from Buckskin Evangelical Church at a celebration recently.

The children and their mentors were paired together through the TLG Early Intervention project, via the charity Cinnamon Network. The project supports children with emotional struggles and gives families and children the support that they need to make positive changes. The Cinnamon Network is UK-wide charity, which supports teams of volunteers from local churches to make a difference in their communities.

In Basingstoke, Sovereign Housing Association provided £2,000 to fund the project, and Buckskin Evangelical Church provided 11 volunteers to spend one hour a week over the school year to work alongside children selected by the school.

Mentors - known as coaches - provided fun, creative, practical projects for children to work on, alongside emotional literacy coaching resources. Playing games outside, completing craft projects and other group activities were an important part of the mentoring sessions.

Parent Hollie Mudie said: “I was approached by the school to have mentoring for my son Rome. He’s previously struggled with forming relationships with new people, but now he understands that people can come and go and it’s helped him deal with his emotions.”

Dedicated time for children

Phil Clarke, Headteacher from Chiltern Primary School, said: “Having dedicated time for children over a longer period of time makes a real difference in young people. The mentoring commitment has brought these children on leaps and bounds.

“Measuring impacts is difficult to do, but anything that contributes to community links is a real positive and having the support and positivity of companies behind it, like Sovereign, means the children feel inspired to realise that they can do anything.”

Rome, aged 9, said: “I’ve enjoyed having someone to play football with.”

Paul Garratt, Cinnamon Network Head of Business Development, said: “This neighbourhood is a happier, healthier, more positive place, thanks to the way our mentors and children have worked together.”

Sovereign Communities Manager, Sarah Fordham, said: “We are so pleased that we were able to get the Cinnamon Network supporting churches here, giving children in Basingstoke a little extra boost with their confidence and coping skills. At Sovereign we want to support the families that live in our homes and communities, and we’re always happy to talk with networks and charities who can provide that assistance.”