Churches respond to the recession

The Government has introduced one of the most far reaching Benefit reforms in at least a generation. This comes in a recession when redundancies, Local Authority restructuring and growing expectations of what the churches and the whole third sector can deliver are rising.

The Government has introduced one of the most far reaching Benefit reforms in at least a generation. This comes in a recession when redundancies, Local Authority restructuring and growing expectations of what the churches and the whole third sector can deliver are rising.

Here we outline some of the responses from churches across our region

Foodbanks
With over 13 million people living below the poverty line, Foodbanks - which are supported by churches in Clubmoor, Knowsley, Widnes fulfil a vital role in a recession.
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Debt Counselling
With more and more suffering financial difficulties at one time ot another services live St Andrew's Debt Advice are increasingly important.
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Fuel Poverty
The Roman Catholic Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace has created a sub-group called Parish Power which aims to help people who are in fuel poverty to pay their energy bills.
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Mission in the Economy (MitE)
Through the work of its chaplains and its key links, MitE is engaged in reflecting on the challenging issues and making a vigorous contribution on behalf of all denominations
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Parish Activity in Ormskirk
It's not just urban environments where the need is as this case study from Ormskirk Parish Church shows.
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What can you do?
Not every church has the resources to manage a project. However you can consider:
  • encouraging members to make donations to a Food Bank
  • identifying members who might volunteer to work with a debt counselling project
  • asking the Mothers’ Union or Knit & Natter to knit garments to distribute – scarves, hats etc
  • Clergy Chapters and Deanery Synods might invite someone from Citizens Advice, the Local Authority or the Credit Union to talk about the situation as it affects your area
  • Considering, as a parish, our Diocese’s commitment to encouraging parishes to donate to the Church Urban Fund who do so much to combat poverty on our behalf at national and local levels
  • Displaying materials about where to go for advice on church notice boards
  • Discussing with the PCC or with Churches Together the possibility of launching or promoting a Credit Union, a debt counselling service or a Food Bank
  • Contacting your Borough Civic Link who will have information on how key organisations like the new Clinical Commissioning Groups, your Local Authority & your Council for Voluntary Service (or equivalent) are responding
  • Being sensitive to parishioners in financial need when it comes to selling raffle tickets or promoting paying for church social events.
  • Praying for local issues and those affected in your parish and community– a closing factory, poor harvests, reduction in services by Council Departments, etc
And wherever possible working in partnership