The Churn Project: Celebrating 20 Years of Supporting Our Community

Fran Embleton-Smith (left) with The Churn’s new CEO Juliet Cocks

Back in the late 1990s the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Cirencester was causing concern. Literacy and numeracy levels in certain wards were the lowest in the district, and women and families were struggling. Something had to be done.

A little bit of Churn Project history

Thanks to the vision and drive of a handful of individuals who set about building partnerships in the town and developing relationships with those needing support, The Churn Project was born and, by 2001, was reaching out and making a difference.

Fran Embleton-Smith, who retired as The Churn Project’s Chief Executive in 2020, began her journey in 2003 as the Project Development Worker. When The Churn became a Registered Charity in 2006, Fran was its Manager and she went on to lead a small part-time team and hundreds of volunteers supporting the most vulnerable in Cirencester and surrounding villages, earning their trust and respect by giving them purpose, belonging, and hope. The charity’s new Chief Executive, Juliet Cocks, took over on 1st September.

Every person matters

Beginning life in Watermoor with a hand to mouth precarious financial existence, The Churn is now an established, trusted and respected charity, attracting local, regional and national funding. In 2020, our 14 part-time team members, with the help of our volunteers, supported 1,730 clients at a cost of £248,357.

Our move to The Waterloo in 2014 increased our capacity to hold regular drop-in groups, workshops and courses. Pre-COVID, these included ante-natal classes, confidence building activities for women with young children, support for memory loss sufferers and their carers, Sunday Tea Club for older people, Maths and English classes, and Work Club to help with CVs, employment and volunteering. The Churn supports those who find themselves at a time of change or crisis in their lives.

We couldn’t do it without you

We rely on the invaluable support of local businesses, trusts, funding bodies, individual supporters and fundraisers, and 490 wonderful volunteers who, in 2020, gave 17,156 hours of their time, equating to £154,404 given in kind.

COVID and beyond

During COVID our face to face groups have moved online, we offer telephone support and befriending, and our army of volunteers provide a shopping service for vulnerable people. We make sure no one is left out, delivering food parcels and activities for children and much needed contact to isolated people. Our allotment and Men’s Shed provide opportunity for outdoor activity.

The Churn Project’s Chief Executive, Juliet Cocks, said:

“In an uncertain world we will continue to provide support and consistency, responding to the community’s needs creatively and dynamically. Over the next couple of years we will continue to talk to the community we serve to identify and prioritise those needs, developing the services we currently offer and ensuring that they and any new services we introduce are relevant, of high quality, and impactful.”

2021 – A year of celebration

Joins us in 2021 to celebrate our first 20 years! Look out for details of our programme of events and fundraisers, coming soon.

The Churn Project, 14-16 The Waterloo, Cirencester GL7 2PY

T: 01285 380038 E: info@thechurn.org.uk  W: www.churnproject.org.uk

Facebook.com/The ChurnProject  Twitter: @churnproject

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