We are creating a five-year, £4.05m Healthier Churches Fund using money which has been freed up from investments alongside some Lowest Income Communities funding. Parishes will be able to apply for funding for projects to help make a difference in reaching out in their community and bring more people to faith.
What’s this fund for?
This funding is for one-off projects which will enable parishes to have an impact in their community, or as ‘seed funding’ for a longer-term project.
It is anticipated that most grants will be less than £10k – enough to help parishes get started with a new congregation, or a new community work or outreach programme.
There is the opportunity to apply for larger amounts of money and applications from deaneries or larger groupings of parishes are welcomed as well as individual churches and benefices.
The fund also could support a couple of much larger projects, although these will need to benefit a number of parishes.
This funding cannot be used for buildings work, but otherwise, you can apply for funding towards any church projects. However, it is essential that applications demonstrate a realistic impact for the size of grant received, and a good return on the investment sought – for example how many people will be reached by the project?
How do I apply?
The application process is relatively simple – 2 pages of A4 for most projects. Applications can come from a single church (with the approval of the PCC), from a benefice, a group of churches, a deanery or wider. Collaboration is, in general, a good thing.
When making an application, it is important to have clarity of thinking rather than lots of detail – essentially you need to be clear as to what you will do, what impact you hope it will have, how much you expect it to cost, and how this proposal fits with your overall priorities.
The application form asks for a health and sustainability plan to be attached. This does not need to be overly complicated, but will be used to demonstrate that your proposal is integral to your plans for increasing the health and sustainability of your church and is one of your top priorities.
- Download a health and sustainability plan template (as a word doc)
- See examples of health and sustainability plans (as pdfs)
Although your application will be for a grant from the Healthier Churches Fund, the funding may come from other diocesan trust funds including the Kingdom People Fund. The Diocesan team will allocate grants as appropriate from the different funds to ensure the greatest possible benefit can be achieved from the funds available.
Where does the money come from?
The Healthier Churches Fund primary uses money that we have been able to free up from our investments thanks to a change in the law. There is also some funding available specifically for those parishes which include some of the most deprived areas of our diocese, which has been taken from the Lowest Income Communities Funding we receive from the Church Commissioners (the majority of which is used to fund clergy in these areas).
Where can I get help with this?
From January 2022, there will be an opportunity to work with a Mission Accompanier in your church, parish or benefice. Mission Accompaniers will work alongside the clergy and laity to help understand what health and sustainability might look like in your context, setting or tradition. They will be able to provide support in putting together a health and sustainability plan and offer advice on when applying for a grant from the Healthier Churches Fund might be appropriate.
Parishes are encouraged to get in touch early to discuss emerging thoughts around applying to the Healthier Churches Fund. Until our Mission Accompanier programme is up and running, either Rob Quarton, Nikki Groarke, as Diocesan Leader for Transformation and Change, or John Preston would be keen to help you formulate your thoughts and proposal.
You can find more helpful advice on fundraising and other sources of grant funding on our parish finance pages.