Funding to connect with children and young people
More than a quarter of a million pounds is heading to churches and Christian organisations all over the UK to help them connect with children and young people in their communities, with Baptist churches among the first to benefit
Allchurches Trust launched its £1 million Growing Lives grants programme in May, aimed at helping churches to build lasting links with local families and support the next generation to reach their potential. It is still open for applications.
Some 21 projects have received a share of £276,487 of funding in the first wave of Growing Lives grants to be awarded and you can see a video showcasing some of the projects here.
The projects supported include Broxburn Baptist Church in West Lothian, Scotland. This small church, with a congregation of only 17, is working hard to deliver a weekly kids club and a parent and toddler group. A £3,500 Growing Lives grant will help them to replace their 25-year-old kitchen with a new kitchen area, which is vital to their activities and support for local families.
Hemsworth Methodist Church in West Yorkshire will use its £25,000 Allchurches Trust grant to help convert the nave of the chapel into a soft play area to give children a safe place to play, and to provide a café that will enable the church to serve healthy meals to young families in an area that has suffered since the closure of the coal mines. The play area will also be run as a social enterprise.
The Transform North West Network of churches will receive £25,000 funding to create ‘Amazing Space’ – a place where young people aged 13 to 18 in some of the most disadvantaged parts of Merseyside can meet and worship. The charity will provide support with finding employment and accessing training, and offer help with addiction and mental health support.
Sir Philip Mawer, chairman of Allchurches Trust, said, 'We are delighted with the response to Growing Lives so far, with applications from churches and charities continuing to flow in. It is clear the new programme is fulfilling a very real need in enabling churches to enhance their work with families and we’re delighted to be funding a wide range of projects that will change lives and communities for the better.'
Allchurches Trust, one of the UK’s largest grant-making charities, launched the new programme after conducting a poll of more than 800 churches to gain an insight into the work churches are engaged in with 0 to 18-year-olds.
The research revealed that while more than two thirds of churches have five or fewer young people in their worshipping community; 96% would love to provide more support and activities for them if they had the right skills and resources in place.
Some 82 per cent of the churches surveyed run activities for children aged 0 to 10, but only 58 per cent are running any activities for 11 to 18-year-olds. And while 58 per cent rate their support for the younger age group as good or excellent, 41 per cent admit their provision for older children is inadequate.
Grants of up to £25,000 are available and the amount depends upon the cost of the project and the level of need in the community, ranging from 10 per cent of project cost to 80 per cent. Churches can apply for a grant under this programme even if they have received funding from Allchurches in the last two years.