Vineyard Church Dungannon are partnering with their local football club, primary schools and agencies to help make Dungannon a great place to live.
‘Reach’ is Vineyard Church Dungannon’s food bank and emergency support service that has been running for almost ten years. Their hope is to empower each of their guests to move forward from dependence to independence – to instil hope and spur them on to freedom and fullness of life.
One of the practical ways they can do this is through their storehouse venue located in the centre of Dungannon. Everyone is welcome to come, where they are listened to by a trained assessor. Once their situation and needs are identified, practical support in the form of fresh food, toiletries, household items and furniture can be offered. This year Reach has blessed more than 140 households already!
Reach is also a place where emotional support can be offered – they are a listening ear, provide advice and signposting to other organisations and the team are able to share the hope of Jesus and pray with their guests.
Excitingly, Reach has recently formed a partnership with The Swifts, a semi-professional football club in Dungannon. The Swifts now advertise and collect for the food bank at all of their home games! This was initiated by their Senior Pastor, Jason Scott, who attended the Swift’s games. He became friends with the manager, staff and many fans and he was then asked to take on the role of Chaplain through Sports Chaplaincy UK.
We chatted to their Compassion Pastor, Sharon Cummings to find out some more about Vineyard Church Dunganon’s local partnerships:
“At Vineyard Church Dungannon, we believe it is vitally important to partner with other organisations in our community to make Dungannon a great place to grow up in – and a great place to grow old in! The Swifts are just one partnership we have in our community. We have connections with a number of other organisations, including a local primary school that sends in a team of pupils to help setup for Reach, local agencies they are able to refer guests to for further support, and Fareshare – a charity fighting hunger and food waste that provide fresh food for the storehouse to distribute. The Outward Focused Christmas Hamper Appeal we run is another practical partnership that brings together local schools, businesses, agency partners and our own church family to create luxury hampers that we distribute to our guests at Reach, and other households referred to us by our local agency partners. All the volunteers come together the week before Christmas to unload food deliveries and to build and distribute the hampers, which last year totalled 450!
We hear so many stories from people who have benefited from our support. It’s amazing to see how we can express the goodness, kindness and compassionate heart of God to our community. Many people comment on the peace they feel when they walk into the venue, and we’ve been able to practically support many Syrian refugee families that have been rehomed in our area – they have been so grateful for our help. One single mum who received support from Reach has completely turned her life around! She has given her life to Jesus, attends our Sunday services and now volunteers at Reach, which is incredible to see.
We’ve recently been highlighted in our local press commending the work we do and promoting the services we offer to anyone struggling. Just a few weeks ago we had a team from the Communications office at Tesco come and film Reach in-action to share on their social media outlets in November for their Christmas food collection appeal.”