restore

Across the country, there are many who have just had to keep going…and it won’t be until they are finally able to pause, that the full extent of the damage done in their lives will become apparent.

Four years on, I know that God has restored my soul in so many beautiful ways, but I still have flashbacks and sometimes experience times of intense anxiety.  I am still on the journey towards integrating my experiences into my own story and learning to live out a new normal. Many in our country have experienced some kind of trauma during this pandemic and they too are going to need time, significant time, to process and integrate all that they have seen or felt or heard.

I believe that the church is in an amazing position to respond to the needs of
those in our nation who need to be restored at this time. We know that Jesus is
the One who can bring hope, healing and peace. And we have a God who is able
to do more than we could ever hope or imagine: He can restore my soul and
theirs.

restore is simply a way to equip churches and others to facilitate this restoration in their own communities. It is a work in progress and I offer it as a starting point.

restore: Who’s it for?

Lucy is a nurse. Usually, she works on the orthopaedics ward, but since the start of the Covid pandemic, she has been working every shift in the ICU unit, nursing very sick patients. She has had to gain new skills very fast in a high-pressure situation…and she has seen some patients die. Lucy has always loved nursing, but nothing could have prepared her for her experiences over the last year and now she’s weary…

Steve is in his 50s and before Covid he worked in a restaurant, but, despite everyone’s best efforts, the business folded and now he faces unemployment. What’s he going to do? How’s he going to cope financially? Steve is trying to be positive, but underneath, the anxiety is gnawing away at him…

Aisha is 17 and working hard at school for her GCSEs, whatever they’re going to look like. It’s been such a tough year. She’s only been in school half the time and there have been weeks of isolation at home, with nothing but a screen to connect her with her friends. She’s back at school now but she just feels really down…

restore aims to be a safe, gently welcoming space in the lives of people who are weary and damaged and at the end of themselves.

restore

The restore space has been designed by Jane Crook who is training to be a priest in the Church of England.

If you would like further details about how to run a restore session please download the PDF below:

Restore NECN

A Space of Welcome in Wythenshawe

 

Place of Welcome

 

2020 – What a year!

I came back from my break to Lisbon and went into run our regular Place of Welcome on the first Monday in March.  The conversation was about one thing – Coronavirus.  It soon became apparent a closure was on its way.  Well, that’s it then.  Ill get laid off I thought.  How wrong I was.

Within 4 weeks I was getting to grips with Zoom and running our Places of Welcome as Spaces of Welcome – an online coffee morning.  Locally, emergency funding became available and so I started to apply for 6 months’ worth of “doing things differently” – a better laptop that could cope with Zoom, Teams etc, project funding to send people tea, coffee and biscuits.  We changed our processes for running our Foodbank and weekly community grocery scheme with Bread and Butter Thing.  Many of our regular volunteers were shielding or coping with children being at home so we recruited new volunteers from the local authority neighbourhood team and staff furloughed from Manchester Airport.

We changed our open access holiday breakfast clubs so that we were able to provide a bag of groceries and an activity pack to families.  In the first school holiday we supported 40 families.  We are about to prepare our Easter packs and we will reach 150 families.

We have core funding to December 2022

Tracey Rawlins CDW March 2021

Look out for NECN in conversation with Tracey coming soon on You Tube

.

NECN in Conversation with Pioneer Minister Jane Emson

Revd. Sr. Jane Emson

Middlesbrough CENTRE OF MISSION

About the Centre of Mission

Middlesbrough Centre of Mission is based on the Brambles Farm and Thorntree estates in Middlesbrough, which are in the top 1% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country. – Thorntree is being one of the most deprived areas in the UK (IMD 2019). St Thomas Church (Brambles Farm estate) no longer has a building or congregation and was the last Anglican worship on the estate. The last time the church met there was in October 2006 and their building was demolished in 2007. My role is to start a New Worshiping Community (church plant) focusing on the 20s-40s on the estate.

Lockdown

Lockdown has been really busy. We have been taking up to 60 food parcels out every other week. And in the school summer holidays this has increased to 72 families which means we’re supporting more than 260 people.

The food has been donated from Churches outside the parish and also from Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland who has so generously gave us funding. I not only bought dried food but also fresh fruit and veg and meat which included recipes to cook and online Zoom sessions to help.

We have given out activity packs for over 120 children and run events on Facebook. Activity packs included creating a COVID-19 time-capsule and an Easter colouring competition.

Bramble Farm Foodbank

We have now set up an Eco Shop to address food poverty. People pay £2 for 15 items of food. Food is donated from the local supermarket. Volunteers from local families help to run the shop.

Life before Lockdown

When I first started my role as Lead Evangelist I was told not to really do anything other than get to know the area and to listen to what God is saying for the first 6 months. I understood why and the importance especially as I didn’t know the area its needs or anyone. Anyway, for those who know me this was near on impossible.

So I began by going out with Fr Terry and his Coffee van three mornings a week. It’s where we park the van in different parts of the estates and give out free coffee to people in the local community. With a stamp on the side saying ‘given with God’s love’. In doing this it not only enabled me to be present but also form some good relationships. One in particular was with a guy called L who had recently come out of prison where he told me he had spent most of his life and he told me that he gave his life to Jesus just a few weeks before his release. He said that he would like to help me set up a church and that he wanted to share his faith.

Brambles Farm Coffee Van

I also started to build up good working partnerships and was handed keys to three local community centres and was told I could use them free of charge to set up what groups I felt appropriate, even a church. I was also asked to be one of the trustees at one of the centres.

One of the centres already had a youth club called Tommy’s. However just a few weeks after my arrival the club closed due to lack of attendance. About a month after this I was asked by the Area Dean if I could start it back up. Which I did in November after lots of prayer, a great team and a few changes. We ended up with 142 young people on the register in just a few months.

I find it such an honour and privilege to serve God in Brambles Farm and Thorntree. The people, children and young people are so amazing. They are a beautiful community who are generous and support each other. And whilst being over here I have also met my future husband David. We got engaged on Valentine’s day.

Reverend Sister Jane Anne Emson

Pioneer Minister, Deacon and Church Army Sister

NECN in Conversation with Pam Howell

St. John the Divine Willenham

Last week we were blessed with a moving and inspiring interview with Revd Pam Howell about how St. John the Divine is reaching out into the community of Willenhall in Coventry – before and during COVID-19. Highlights include video interviews with families on the estate and film clips of COVID-safe community days in the church grounds during the holidays.

Food is a big need for people on the estate right now as well as the need to hear and experience God’s love. At the height of the pandemic the foodbank was providing around 28,000 warm home-cooked meals 6 days a week for around 3000 families. People turned up individually at pre-booked times. The feeding programme will continue to be funded by community grants during Easter and the summer.

St. John’s have also applied successfully for a grant from the West Midlands Police to tackle digital poverty, which Pam mentions in the interview. Click on the Community Initiative Fund to find out more and to keep an eye out for any further opportunities to apply for funding.

To watch the interview, visit our You Tube channel on:

If you would like to contact Pam to explore some of the ways that an estate church is reaching out into the community including where they applied for community grants visit https://www.stjohnthedivinewillenhallcoventry.org.uk/ 

Estate Priest Pam Howell

Hope Community Witham

Estate Comunity Church

Once again churches and communities are having to dig deep into keeping hold of hope as we start the New Year with a third lockdown.

Today we bring you some good news of an estate church in Witham, Essex, the Hope Community. Their mission is ‘Bringing Hope, Being Community’. You can find their page on Facebook here.

Like many churches since March 2020, Hope Community have had to quickly learn how to put services online and go through a steep learning curve. Services are currently being streamed live every week via Facebook where engagement has grown from 70 views per week to over 500 views. A Zoom Alpha Group has also been set up by Revd Will Abbott for people to explore questions brought up in the uncertainty of this season which are advertised through Facebook and this group is growing.

Goody Bags Hope Community

As well as being flexible in how to worship God and pray, Hope Community have been reaching out to families in need through the Love Where You Live scheme. This scheme was originally set up in Wythenshawe by The Message. During Love Where You Live weeks in Wythenshawe, volunteers have been delivering food parcels, cleaning up rubbish and even sprucing up gardens. You can read more about the Wythenshawe project on https://www.message.org.uk/love-where-you-live-2/

In Witham, volunteers gave out  over 400 goody bags and food over Christmas to families who have been really touched by this act of kindness. Donations for the foodbank are coming in regularly and there is a Just Giving ‘Love Where U Live’ fundraising page to raise money towards outreach projects to support and care for the wider community. A recent appeal has been for funds to buy treats for NHS staff to show appreciation of their frontline work. A link to give a donation to this fund can be found here.

Hope Community have plans in the pipeline to launch their own website later this year as a charitable organisation. In the meantime if you would like some more details about Hope Community which works with St. Nicolas Church, Witham, visit https://www.withamparishchurch.org.uk/

 

News from CURBS

CURBS logo

CURBS is a small Christian charity set up in 1996 in response to the need for resources and training for church-linked children’s workers in inner cities and on outer urban estates.

Like many charities we have been hit financially by COVID and they’re currently £8000 short to keep going this year. Because of this they have lauched a 100@5 campaign. They’re asking 100 members of our community to commit to giving just £5 a month to keep CURBS going. Can you help?

CURBS would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has already supported them in their 100@5 campaign. They are currently at 55 regular givers on their way to the target of 100, and your support so far has kept CURBS going through this very difficult time and will continue to do so up till Christmas so thank you!

But…

They’re not out the woods quite yet and would so love to reach the target of 100 regular givers giving £5 a month. Just 45 more people supporting CURBS in this way would make CURBS much more sustainable and pay for their development worker’s wage to the end of the financial year.

So if you meant to set up regular giving but never quite got round to it, or if you know someone who would be interested in supporting them please  visit the website

CURBS News

Despite lockdown, tiers and restrictions, the HUBS continue to be busy around the UK, working out different ways of how to connect with children and families during this difficult time. From days of prayer for children, to delivering packs through doors, to patiently meeting up again slowly but surely, they’ve been inspired to hear what people are doing. You can read  Stories from Lockdown here. 


CURBS continues to be an important voice in the conversations happening around how churches are reaching in to estates. It is wonderful to see this topic being more widely talked about and we look forward to seeing where God is taking us.

We thank you for your continued support of CURBS and you’ll hear more about this from us soon!

Transforming Lives for Good relaunch Box of Hope for Winter

Transforming Lives for Good

Since COVID-19 hit the country, TLG has equipped over 200 churches to reach out to some of the most vulnerable families across the UK as part of their Box of Hope project. Over 510,000 emergency parcels have been delivered to families since the start of the pandemic.

As the 2nd lockdown meets winter TLG have relaunched the Box of Hope project. Funding, guidelines and resources which will really equip and release churches in this season can be applied for at

https://www.tlg.org.uk/more/campaigns/box-of-hope

Fundraising support for churches during COVID-19 and beyond

Ecclesiastical Insurance

During these difficult times Ecclesiastical Insurance  in collaboration with fundraising specialists, the Philanthropy Company, have put together really helpful advice and support resources to help you to fundraise for your church community.

Top tips

First of all there is a checklist of top tips for how to begin fundraising. A link to this page can be found here. You will also find a link to various databases of funders and emergency grant funders on that page. There is a search function which could help you to identify a potential funder. Some databases are free and others are available if you pay a subscription.

Build your case

Secondly, once you have decided who you are going to apply to for funding you will need to build a strong case in your application form. This will include:

  • a strong vision of what you want to achieve
  • a breakdown of costs
  • a plan of how you are going to monitor and evaluate the impact of your project.

A more comprehensive checklist can be found be found on https://www.ecclesiastical.com/church/fundraising/application-checklist/

There is also a handy guidance sheet that you can use to help you to write your case if you are new to fundraising.

Outputs and outcomes – what’s the difference?

Finally, you will need to have a clear understanding on some of the key terms used by funders when you apply and when you report back on how the funds have helped your target group. This includes understanding the difference between an output ( the resources used by your church to help others e.g. a new youth worker) and an outcome ( e.g. young people are less isolated). Ecclesiastical Insurance explain this brilliantly on https://www.ecclesiastical.com/church/fundraising/outputs-outcomes/

A free webinar which lasts for around 30 minutes which goes over these points can be viewed on https://www.ecclesiastical.com/church/fundraising/fundraising-webinar/

A final word…

Funders like to see collaboration and partnership. Before you get going on your fundraising make sure that no one else is already doing something similar in your area. Or, if you come across other organisations working with a similar group of people, can you offer something different to that fills a gap? For example, if you want to reduce the isolation of older people can you work in local partnership with other denominations or organisations to complement each other’s work?

 

 

Poverty in the Pandemic

End Child Poverty

Coronavirus has turned the lives of families with children upside down. Millions of parents have lost jobs, or been furloughed with few guarantees of a job to return to. Schools and childcare facilities have largely been closed since the start of the pandemic, and many parents have been facing the almost impossible task of trying to work from home while also providing childcare and home-schooling.

These challenges are more acute in low-income families. Research has shown that the livelihoods of low-income workers are more at risk than the livelihoods of those in higher-paid roles, with many lower-paid workers employed in the sectors that have been bearing the brunt of the economic crisis.

In the face of an unprecedented public health crisis, which has also become an economic crisis, the government has acted quickly to safeguard people’s jobs. The Job Retention Scheme (JRS), in particular, has shielded many families from the worst impacts of the pandemic. The government has also made some important changes to the social security system which have provided a much-needed boost to household incomes at a time when many families are struggling.

However, there has been no targeted financial support for families with children, other than the provision of free school meal (FSM) vouchers, which only partially replaced an existing scheme. The increases in benefits made to date do not take into account family size, with single adults receiving the same increases as those with children. And there has been little recognition of the specific financial and non-financial pressures facing families with children.

To understand the financial impact of coronavirus on low-income families first hand, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Church of England (CofE) conducted a survey, hosted on the Entitledto benefits calculator website. Families’ testimonies of what life has been like during the pandemic provide an important insight into the day-to-day struggles many have been dealing with, as well as showing their strength and resilience in managing such an array of challenges on a limited income.

To download the full report please click on the link below:

Poverty-in-the-pandemic

Church of England Logo

CPAG

What will you do to end homelessness?

“Not having a secure home means not being able to set roots in a place, become part of a community and flourish in the ways that we are meant to. As churches there are many things that we can do to help prevent people falling into the sort of situations that I found myself in. What will you do to end homelessness?”

Revd Grace Thomas, Anglican priest with lived experiences of homelessness.

End Homelessness

We know that home is more than just bricks and mortar. It means safety, security, and an opportunity to build your life on a stable foundation. That’s why responding to homelessness is so key for churches. Right now, that’s more vital than ever.

During the pandemic, homelessness in the UK has changed dramatically. As lockdown began, thousands of rough sleepers were moved into self-contained accommodation. We discovered that it was possible to practically end rough sleeping overnight, if the political will was there. Evictions were paused, reducing the possibility of a spike in homelessness of all kinds.

As we move forward together, we can’t just return to the way things were before, with families up and down the country facing homelessness. It’s crucial that we respond now.

We need to reimagine how we respond to homelessness. As churches, we need to think especially hard. Whilst night shelters and drop in centres are some of the most common forms of social action churches run, they’re difficult to run right now because of social distancing.

It’s key that this discussion is led by those with lived experiences of homelessness, and that’s why it’s great to see that the Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptists, URC, Methodists and Church of Scotland are inviting them to the centre of their discussions. Over the coming months, they’ll be amplifying their voices, sharing their stories and asking them what they want churches to do to end homelessness. You can find out about their campaign – and see the first few stories – here. To see each story as it comes out, follow the Joint Public Issues Team on social media.

From supported accommodation to social care, campaigning to employment skills, these stories highlight a whole raft of responses churches can take. This means that as many churches as possible can play their part. Many of these responses are already tried and tested and they just need rolling out wider. They also show that churches can prevent people becoming homeless in the first place, alongside reacting to it. This reduces the need for crisis response and, more importantly, means that one less person faces a night without a place to call their own.

In the last few months, we’ve proved that homelessness isn’t inevitable. Now’s the time for us to be brave, to hear God’s call as He asks us to live out His word differently in this new reality. So, what will you do to end homelessness?


This blog has been written by Dan Simpson who is an intern carrying out research to support work being done by both the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community and also the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT).