NODDFA Church in Abersychan has been awarded a Torfaen Voluntary Alliance (TVA) community award for its work during the pandemic.

In a small ceremony on last Wednesday, Pastor John Funnell was handed a ‘Torfaen Community Heroes’ award.

The TVA recognised the church with a plaque for its outstanding service to the community during the Covid-19 pandemic’.

Pastor John paid tribute to the church’s volunteers for their work during the pandemic, and dedicated the award to church elder Peter Sweeting, who delivered hundreds of food parcels during the crisis but passed away in January after catching coronavirus.

“We are so humbled to receive this award on behalf of the congregation at Noddfa Church, who have all worked so hard to serve the valley we love during this difficult time,” said Pastor John.

“We thank TVA for their support and accept this award for the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for Peter Sweeting, who gave his life to serve the most vulnerable in our community during the pandemic.”

Throughout the lockdown, Noddfa Church has served tens of thousands of meals to the most vulnerable in the community - and handed out hundreds of Christmas hampers.

The church has more than a thousand families on its database who have received food parcel deliveries.

It has also served the homeless on a weekly basis, providing food and clothing, tents, sanitary products, and housed five homeless people - two under 18 - during the pandemic.

The church has been open throughout the week for those in need to come in and charge phones, eat warm food and chat - within the guidelines.

Pastor John has offered pastoral care, helping those with mental health issues, and the church’s volunteers helped with phone calls to people at risk of being vulnerable and lonely.

Due to the restrictions, the church moved online during the lockdown. This online provision included RE lessons for schools and quizzes, and Carols Under the Arch, a service which raised money for the Daniel Jones Memorial Fund, had more than 15,500 views on Facebook Live - compared to the 1,000 people who usually attend.

Torfaen Voluntary Alliance is looking to highlight people who deserve wider recognition for their work in the community through the Torfaen Community and Volunteer Awards.

The awards - set for October 2 at Pontypool Active Living Centre - will recognise those who regularly do good across the third sector, sport, business and the local community.

Torfaen Voluntary Alliance’s operational executive officer, Aimi Morris, said: “TVA has seen a record number of organisations, community members and informal groups adapt their services quickly in a response to the pandemic, supporting so many people in various ways.

“These awards are an opportunity for us to highlight the huge impact volunteering has across the third sector in Torfaen.

“I hope you will join us in thanking everyone using the hashtag #TorfaenSaysThanks. If you’ve been a volunteer or benefitted from volunteering please get posting.”