THE diocese of Chichester is set to replace its youth and
children's team with a single youth officer, as part of a
"restructuring exercise" that will, in part, fund the creation of a
A number of diocesan employees were served with formal
consultation letters last week, advising them that their posts
could be made redundant. One of them, the adviser for work with
children and young people, Ali Campbell, took to his blog to reveal
that his five-strong team would be replaced by a single youth
One of the reasons given for the restructuring was to "make
economies for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness and to fund
posts . . . such as the fourth archdeacon and the increased
resources in safeguarding and education".
"I am stunned. I am angry. I am in pain," Mr Campbell said. He
described much of the work of the team as "unseen", and "supporting
those at the grassroots of church ministry - volunteers engaged
with children's, youth and families work".
In a statement, the diocese of Chichester said that the diocesan
synod had approved a planned £241,000 deficit in its 2014 budget,
"on the proviso that everything possible would be done to minimise
costs and maximise return on assets. "Running such deficits is
unsustainable as the diocese's unrestricted reserves are close to
being exhausted. The status quo is no longer an option."
It said that it needed to restrict increases in parish share "to
a realistic and affordable level".
"The primary agent of mission is the local church, and where
resources are limited this must be the first call on our
The diocese emphasised that "the loss of posts at Church House
is no reflection on the competence of the current post-holders, nor
their significant contribution to the life of the Church. It is a
very hard decision based on our current financial situation."
A diocesan spokeswoman said that she could not confirm the total
number of potential redundancies, or the amount that would be cut
from the budget as part of the proposed restructuring, until the
confidential consultation process had been concluded in the New