A NEW grant scheme is offering up to £25,000 to churches to help them to connect with children and young people in their communities.
The scheme, Growing Lives, has been set up by Allchurches Trust, after a survey that it carried out suggested that two-thirds of churches had fewer than five young people in their church community, and a quarter had none at all.
Its survey of 800 churches of varying denominations found that 96 per cent of them wanted to offer more to young people, but did not feel that they had the right skills and resources to do so. One of those surveyed said: “We are generally at a loss as to how to appeal to our youth.”
The chairman of Allchurches Trust, Sir Philip Mawer, said: “While our survey uncovered some truly inspiring examples of churches’ running innovative projects that are addressing a very real need in their communities, it’s clear that many are struggling to run activities at all, or are offering support that they feel lacks relevance or is unattractive to local families. Many are hampered by buildings that are not fit for purpose, and outdated equipment.
“We hope to help overcome some of these practical problems through our new grants programme. We also aim to share shining examples of projects making a difference and encouraging church growth; so that more churches and Christian organisations feel inspired and confident to help young people in their communities reach their potential, spiritually and in other ways.”
The Growing Lives grants programme will fund between ten per cent and 80 per cent of the project cost, depending on the size of the project and the level of need in the community.
The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams, welcomed the initiative. It would provide “crucial funding to churches and Christian organisations, enabling them to enhance their outreach to children and young people and build lasting relationships with local families”, he said.