TFIA 7The long-awaited Thurrock Faith In Action (TFIA) event celebrating the findings of the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit (CNAA) took place last night, Thursday 19 November 2015, at the Gateway Peoples’ Centre (GPC) in Stanford-le-Hope.

The object of the event was to recognise the work that the faith groups do following the audit that took place across the borough’s faith groups earlier this year, facilitated by Andy Blakey (right) and sponsored locally by Thurrock Faith Matters and Transformation Thurrock in partnership with Cinamon Network.

The TFIA event took place now so it could be part of Thurrock’s contribution to the national Inter Faith Week, which always takes place in November. Chirstians, Hindus, Muslims and Sihks attended.

In this initial report, the TFIA programme will be covered. This will be followed by a Press Release and then a report focusing on what was said and what came out of the event, looking to the future.

TFIA 2Afternoon programme – the Marketplace

Stalls representing various local faith agencies working in the borough and who featured in the Faith Action Audit were set up around the auditorium. Present were:

  • CAP (Christians Against Poverty) – David Acreman, Gbenga Olajugbagbe and Steve Quick – monetry, job and addictions’ advice (see pic at bottom, 4th from left)
  • Celebrate Recovery – Colin Baker – helping to kick habits and addictive behaviours
  • Open The Book – Stella Lawson and Celia Brockhurst – engaging with local primary education through interactive assemblies
  • Salvation Army anti-trafficking work – Heather Sheldon – helping enslaved women
  • Side by Side – Jokey Poyntz and Rachel Hattingh – working with the refugees at Calais
  • TFIA 10Stanford Boiler Room – Robb & Sally Harman – chaplaincy and cafe in local education
  • Thurrock Lunch Club (part of The 180 Project) – Elle Knight – providing free meals for children in school holiday time
  • Thurrock COACH Network – Gbenga Bamidele – mentoring young people
  • Thurrock Foodbank – Sarah Cordell with Kim & Chris Ford – relief from food poverty
  • Workplace Chaplains – Andy Hudson and Alex Gowing-Cumber – active in the borough’s industry and retail sectors

Refreshments were served in between the afternoon and evening programmes. These were lavishly supplied by Jacquie Trott and her marvellous kitchen team who are the engine behind the GPC Cafe. (See pic below.)

Evening programme – the Celebration

There was a whole host of items to get through. Andy Blakey acted as compare for the evening. The running order looked like this:

  1. CFAA official video produced for the national CFAA Launch in Westminster last May, which includes four glimspes of a project active in the borough, namely, the Thurrock Lunch Club
  2. TFIA 3Welcome and Introduction to the CFAA – by local CFAA Champion Andy Blakey
  3. Expression of Support – by Senior Church Leader, the Bishop of Bradwell, Rev John Wraw
  4. Expression of Support – by Civic Partner, from Thurrock Council, Natalie Warren
  5. National CFAA Overview Summary and Local CFAA Findings – given by Andy Blakey
  6. Showcasing Projects:
    1. Q – What does your project do?
    2. Q – What do your beneficiaries like about what you do?
    3. Q – What is your hope for the future?
      1. Elle Knight – Thurrock Lunch Club (a Cinnamon Network Recognised Project)
      2. Ashley Lovett – Thurrock Foodbank (below, 3rd pic from left)
      3. Gbenga Bamidele – Thurrock COACH Network
  7. Breakout sessions: Discussion of Findings in groups (above, right) , who were asked to come up questions for the panel
  8. TFIA 6The Panel (see right – from L to R):
    1. Natalie Warren – Thurrock Council
    2. Nick Alston – Essex Police & Crime Commissioner
    3. Rev John Wraw – Bishop of Bradwell
    4. Elle Knight – Thurrock Lunch Club
  9. Final Thoughts from Bishop John
  10. Call to Action followed by a Vote of Thanks from CFAA Ambassador Claudine Reid MBE (below, 2nd pic from left)

Cinnamon Network’s Thurrock Local Faith Action Audit Reports were available for distribution at end.


  • TFIA 1Thank you to all the stall holders and local project leaders who took part in the TFIA event.
  • Thank you to Nick Alston, Rev John Wraw, Natalie Warren and Claudine Reid for your support, contributions and encouragement.
  • Thank you to Cllr James Halden (in 3rd pic down on right) who came to the event.
  • Thank you to Jackie Doyle-Price MP and Stephen Metcalfe MP for voicing their support for the event but who couldn’t attend owing to parliamentary business at Westminster.
  • Thank you to the GPC Catering Team and to Steve Trott who prepared the premises. Your hospitality is warm, generous and professional.
  • Thank you to our lcoal co-sponsors, the inter-faith forum, Thurrock Faith Matters, represented last night by the Vice Chair, Russell Godward, and some members of the forum – Adewale Adesina, Baldev Singh, Naguib Nuthoo and Yash Gupta (right).
  • Thank you to all who came along to share in and support the TFIA event and the work being done by faith communities across the wider community of Thurrock.

A follow-up article will be posted as soon as possible.