Rewards for volunteers who are the bedrock of their community
Hosting an afternoon painting stones was just another way for Reverend Linda Tomkinson to prove she's a real rock in her community.
For since the closure of St Wilfred’s Church on Mereside, she and her husband Peter have been bringing spiritual and practical support to residents on the estate.
Now the couple, of Langdale Road, Mereside, have been the first to be recognised by a new scheme aimed at encouraging more folk to volunteer for neighbourhood tasks.
They have been presented with their reward of tickets to Blackpool attractions after joining the Clifton Community Volunteers Club and completing four tasks.
The presentation was made at Mereside Library where Rev Tomkinson was busy holding a mandala stone decorating session for residents.
She said: “I’m part of a Church of England project that saw me come to the estate in February 2016.
“St Wilfred’s Church had closed, so I started off holding services in my front room and then last December we moved to Tarnside Community Centre.
“We want to support the community in any way we can and encourage them to explore their spirituality in creative and fun ways.
“For the mandala stones painting I’m using stones from my garden and other stuff you can find at home.
“It’s great to see the councillors spearheading projects which improve the community.
“We have been out litter-picking, helping to improve someone’s garden which had become unmanageable and helping at the Christmas lights switch-on.
“We would have done it without the reward, but I am encouraging some of the people from our congregation to take part too.”
Rev Tomkinson has been placed on Mereside for five years.
She has set up the Freedom Church Mereside which meets every Sunday at 4.30pm at Tarnside Community Centre, and also has a prayer tent every Sunday at the Whyndyke Farm car boot sale.
The Clifton Community Volunteers Club is the brainchild of Clifton councillors Luke Taylor and Adrian Hutton.
Volunteers have been carrying out tasks including gardening, painting and skill swap workshops.
They are issued with a volunteering ‘passport’ and collect a stamp for every session they complete.
Rewards provided by local businesses are given for every four stamps collected, with up to 12 stamps available in each passport.