With many in the country acutely affected by the economic and social crisis that exists it has never been more important for the church to be actively involved in the “repair” and regeneration of local communities. What there is and indeed what has always been there is a model of big society that the government talked about and sought to promote.
The recent Area Bishop Community Ministry days identified and highlighted a number of issues that require additional attention and focus. These included:
- Funding and income generation
- Constitutions and governance documents
- Dealing with new and different communities
- Building and development work and the marketing of said space
- Raising the profile and sharing the good news of what is being done
The Community Ministry team aims to look at and formulate responses to these issues during the course of 2012.
Across the Diocese (and of course the country) there are growing numbers of people suffering, many silently as they deal with the myriad of issues that life continues to throw at them. For some the variety of projects and good work taking place at parish level has been literally a life saver.
Winter night shelters
Each borough across the Diocese has a Winter Night Shelter project the most recently established of these are in Chiswick and Westminster, many of these are now in operation and will remain open until the end of March. For help and advice on establishing a shelter service Housing Justice has produced its shelter in a pack resource. If you want to make a connection with a shelter near you (volunteering, donations etc) get in touch and I can offer direction.
Total UK personal debt at the end of October 2011 stood at £1,451bn. Individuals owe nearly as much as the entire country produced in the four quarters between Q4 2010 and Q3 2011. It is estimated that 1600 people are made redundant daily and that there is a repossession of a house every 15 minutes – source Credit Action and working alongside people affected we operate Christians Against Poverty Centres and Community Money Advice Centres, and other initiatives. There is also a growth and development of the Foodbank network and services to refugee communities, services for people affected by mental health issues, family support and mediation, counselling projects and education projects to name a few. These compliment the children, youth and services to the elderly that are a core activity of parishes.
On behalf of all the people who access this work and services, thank you for your investment and commitment to the cause. Many of these initiatives have received funding support from the Church Urban Fund Mustard Seed Programme a summary/snap shot of the investment into the Diocese for 2011 has also been produced.