St John the Baptist Church, Penzance, has been named the winner of the 2017  Marsh Awards for Innovative Church Projects. The award was for creating Playzone@Penzance, a safe and flexible space for children to play, by removing pews, moving the font, and installing a soft play area. The church receives a £1,000 prize.

St John’s is part of the Penlee Cluster, a group of four churches working together and sharing resources to best serve the Penzance area.

Sian Yates, Team Rector, said: “We are delighted to receive this award from the Marsh Christian Trust which reflects all the hard work and creative input from so many people at the Playzone. We look forward to continuing our work in the community and increasing the use of our churches.”

Playzone @Penzance is a place where children can play in a safe and fun indoor space, used by families and schools. A group called Coachhouse,  which provides accommodation for vulnerable young people, sells low-priced cakes and lunchboxes. The venue provides much needed employment, plus work experience for a rota of volunteers.


The Marsh Awards for Innovative Church Projects show the positive impact that installing new facilities has on churches and local. They are run jointly by the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church building support charity, and the Marsh Christian Trust.

The 2017 winners were announced by Methodist Superintendent Rev Stuart Wild at the Churches Trust Forum annual conference at Manchester Methodist Central Hall on 18 May 2017.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust, said: “I’m delighted Playzone@Penzance, a fantastic project to provide a welcoming space for children and families at St John the Baptist Church in Penzance, has won the 2017 Marsh Awards for Innovative Church Projects. The church worked incredibly hard to make sure that local people were consulted on how to make the building more welcoming and accessible. Playzone@Penzance is now used extensively and the church has become an invaluable community hub.”