Cornerstone House Centre wishes all the people of Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and surrounding villages a very Merry Christmas and an extremely Happy New Year when it comes!
It’s that time year again when everyone gets ready for the upcoming holiday season, and we hope despite this being a Christmas like no other that this will be a time of joy, peace and rest for you and your loved ones.
As an unprecedented 2020 comes to a close, Cornerstone House Centre would like to thank all its service users, partners, supporters and funders for their trust and successful collaboration during the past year. Indeed, it is thanks to this support that the organisation has been able to sustain and prosper despite the challenging health and economic circumstances of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Some reflections and highlights of the past twelve months at Cornerstone House Centre are highlighted below.
A Year in Which Cornerstone House Centre Emerged as a Community Response Leader
Cornerstone House Centre started off 2020 by re-launching its social media portfolio, with a refreshed Facebook page and new Twitter and Instagram platforms providing service users and local citizens with online ways to engage with the organisation and keep up to date with latest developments.
In February, the organisation announced the launch of Cumbernauld CAN (Community Anchor Network), a new project supported by Scottish Government which aimed to develop the connected capacity of the Cumbernauld community. Throughout the year, despite having to work digitally and remotely for large spells, Cumbernauld CAN has been successful in enabling Cumbernauld residents and organisations to work together to become better at responding to local needs.
As part of the project, Participatory Budgeting (PB), a process where ordinary people are given power to democratically and collectively make key decisions on how public funding is spent, was used to distribute a total of just over £5,000 to eleven community organisations in the spring. This funding enabled activities such as establishment of a new weekly running event in Cumbernauld House Park, continuation of a ‘Sheila Shed’ group for older women in the local area, facilitation of outings for Cumbernauld children with additional support needs, teaching of repair skills to local citizens and provision of social outings for senior citizens living in Westfield.
It was the events of March, though, which would define the year as the world as we know it was turned sideways when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK. Scottish Government restrictions meant that Cornerstone House Centre was forced to close its community-owned building and Community Space facility to the public from late March to mid-August, and then again for a three-week period during November-December.
However, far from this deterring the work of the organisation, the pandemic resulted in Cornerstone House Centre’s importance as a Community Anchor Organisation taking on new significance. In response to the crisis, Cornerstone House Centre responded swiftly to launch The Cumbernauld CHaT (Community Help and Talk) Service, endorsed by The National Lottery Community Fund and Corra Foundation. This provided a range of free practical supports, interventions, advice giving and chat options to help Cumbernauld citizens during the lockdown period, dealing with 281 enquiries and making 141 wellbeing telephone calls during the three-month peak of the pandemic from April-June.
Moreover, the organisation made a further contribution in early summer by coordinating and approving the dispersal of £72,000 of Scottish Government funds to 14 community and voluntary organisations operating in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and the Northern Corridor for the purpose of tackling the COVID-19 emergency. This venture, entitled Cumbernauld GIVES (Grants Initiative for Virus Emergency Scheme), initiated activities such as regular delivery of nutritious food parcels to individuals and families experiencing poverty, coordination of targeted advice and information services for those severely affected by the pandemic, facilitation of a safe and monitored outdoor playzone and garden area for Cumbernauld families during lockdown and loaning of bicycles to frontline workers and those requiring assistance with transport.
Through all this, Cornerstone House Centre completed successful delivery of Year 3 of Cumbernauld Family Hub, a National Lottery Community Fund-supported project which provides a raft of free resources and development opportunities for families living in the Cumbernauld area. During 2020, the Family Hub evidenced notable outcomes for local parents, children and family members in terms of personal and skills development, health and wellbeing, parent-child bonding, life balance, recovery and employability. As a result of its extremely positive impact, Cornerstone House Centre was delighted to announce in the summer that The National Lottery Community Fund has refunded the programme for a further three years.
Other notable highlights of the year included Cornerstone House Centre celebrating its 10th anniversary, improving the confidence and mental health of citizens through delivery of the award-winning Living Life to the Full course, facilitating Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub and the organisation becoming a local distributor of Healthy Start Vitamins on behalf of Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire.
Last but by no means least, a special mention for two of The Centre’s most loyal and longstanding partners, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship and Cornerstone Café, who continued to work closely with and invaluably support the organisation’s aims and objectives during 2020.
The Cornerstone House Centre building is closed after Thursday 24 December 2020 until at least Monday 18 January 2021 due to Level 4 COVID-19 protection levels. However, the organisation will open for business remotely from Tuesday 5 January 2021 and can be contacted on 07940 569527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the challenges of 2020, the good news is that the charity has been working on a range of exciting plans for the development of new services and projects for 2021, so keep with www.cornerstone-house.org.uk for all the latest news, information and updates over the coming months.