Penlee Cluster of Churches has been crowned national winner of Ecclesiastical Insurance’s annual Good News Competition.

At the ceremony in London, Penlee Cluster of Churches received an additional £6,000 on top of the £1,500 awarded for winning the regional competition, bringing their total to £7,500.

The collaboration between St John’s and St Mary’s in Penzance, St Peter’s in Newlyn and St Pol de Leon in the village of Paul in Cornwall launched their ‘Never Alone’ campaign to tackle isolation during lockdown.

Church members teamed up with local businesses to take meals to elderly and vulnerable people. They also ran an arts-and-crafts programme with youngsters and a local artist, Sally the Postie, in which children made fun ‘pets’ out of packaging materials and delivered them with songs and letters to put a smile on people’s faces.

Revd Sian Yates from Penlee Cluster of Churches said: “It was really unexpected because there were some superb projects shortlisted for the national prize, but we’re so excited to have won and grateful to Ecclesiastical for the funding.

“Today has been so inspiring seeing what other churches have done and it has inspired us to learn from them and see what more we can do for our community – starting with supporting our new initiative Feast Night for Families.”

Helen Richards, church operations director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “A huge congratulations to all of the churches for their entries to our ‘Good News’ competition – and especially to our overall winners Penlee Cluster of Churches.

“The awards was a wonderful occasion and I’ve had the chance to sit down and speak with the churches, find out what their challenges are and to see first-hand the amazing contribution to their local communities. Seeing how they’ve rallied and helped those in need out during the most challenging times is really inspiring.

“It inspires me, and colleagues at Ecclesiastical, to do more and to do it better. Our employees are real people who really care about our customers and we’re working hard to give even more back to good causes. By doing that we can help more even churches and the communities they work with to thrive.”

Ecclesiastical launched the ‘Good News’ church competition in June last year to shine a light on churches across the UK – their bright ideas and success stories, community heroes and ingenuity in the face of adversity.

The specialist insurer asked churches to send in a newspaper-style story capturing the essence of their parish or congregation – a triumph over adversity in difficult times, perhaps, or a tale of selfless volunteering – together with a headline and a photo or video to illustrate it.

Entries came in from across the UK with a panel of judges sorting through and awarding five churches £1,500 for winning their regional contest before going into the final.