When you get a grant towards a salary, how do you make sure the post is sustainable in the long term? We talked to Malc Allen, Rector in Bishop’s Cleeve and Craig Bishop, Rector in Vale and Cotswold Edge about bringing a community together to support long term sustainable ministry.
Craig said, “We currently employ Amy Todd as our Youth, Children and Schools Worker (YCSW) and we’re looking to employ and eventually self fund another post to work alongside Amy.
“One of the most important things that we’ve learned is that it’s really important not to rely on one income stream, but instead have four or five different income streams. Right from the start, we have been looking beyond the first three years of funding which means that by the time the Life Development Fund money disappears, we still have the capacity to carry on.”
In Vale and Cotswold Edge they have taken a varied approach to raising money for youth ministry:
- The Life Development Fund
- The parishes within the benefice giving a proportion of their parish share.
- Individual donors who want to support ministry in our area.
- We are looking for 100 people to give £10 a month, which works out to be quite a bit with Gift Aid. One proviso is that people can only give to youth work if they are already giving to the parish.
- Each parish has committed to holding a fundraising event each year. In Chipping Campden, they donated the proceeds of one of their Lent lunches to the Youth Worker Fund, and one year they had afternoon tea in the vicarage, with everyone contributing a gift towards the youth worker fund.
- Trusts and one-off gifts make up the rest of the sum, but these are usually short-lived and are about getting the project started.
Craig explained that collaboration and communication are key. “Amy is a natural communicator and we take care to raise her profile with the people in the pews, who might not know what she is doing. Some of the parishes that don’t have many young people or church schools might not see what’s happening but we are investing in the church of the now and of the future. Ministry isn’t a cost/benefit analysis and is more about planting seeds. Amy visits each PCC once a year and builds relationships with the key lay leaders. Every church in the benefice, regardless of size and income, gives to the ministry.
“It’s really important for each parish to know that they are contributing to something successful. Some of the bigger churches can raise £600-£700 with an afternoon tea, and some of the smaller churches can raise £25, but together we can do so much more than we can as individual churches. Some things we could afford only as a team.”
Amy’s post is now self-funded from within the benefice and they are working towards employing an additional person alongside Amy, with the aim of making that post also self-sustaining within three years.
In Bishop’s Cleeve, the Revd Malc Allen, Team Rector agreed that keeping their Children and Families Worker Sallie Mumford’s ministry prominent in the benefice was a vital part of gathering support.
He said, “Sallie is doing wonderful ministry and we keep it well in view of the church, particularly her work with parent and toddler groups and baptism preparation using Alpha with parents. We’ve got a really good treasurer who helped us plan for when funding tapered away, from the outset. We dedicate a proportion of our Annual Gift Day monies to the project and try to encourage a lot of people to give a small amount of money.
Malc said, “Looking forward to next year, I hope that Sallie’s post will be financed by the benefice. We do feel that there will be a challenge to generate income over the next year or two, partly due to the covid effect and partly to rising energy bills. We have a moment to choose where we are at and I hope we will rise to the challenge.”