Almost £1m has now been given to churches and Christian organisations all over the UK, to help them connect with children and young people in their communities, with 65 projects set to benefit from the most recent round of Allchurches Trust’s Growing Lives grants.

St Margaret’s Church in Aspley, Nottingham, will benefit from a £7,000 grant to develop its Bee family’ programme – an after-school community group aimed at young families who live in the local estates around the church. The aim of the group is to provide hot meals to help tackle local food poverty and build relationships. Zones around the church will provide support with homework, games, a parent/​carer area, refreshments and a prayer space.

A grant of £6,300 will support St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Southwark, London, to relaunch its cathedral choir, while £22,000 is heading to Robert Stewart Memorial United Reformed Church. This church in a disadvantaged part of Newcastle is actively seeking to break down barriers by holding joint events that bring together the diverse communities, including young people from uniformed groups, the weekly youth club, the Ethiopian church that meets in the building, and the local Eastern European community. New facilities will improve access for people with disabilities, while a new kitchen will provide cookery classes and refreshments.

Oakworth Methodist Church in West Yorkshire, meanwhile, will use its £10,000 Allchurches Trust grant to fund new staging, lighting and audio equipment. The church’s mission is to provide drama and dance activities for children and young people of all abilities to help them develop life skills and confidence while opening up their lives to the Christian faith.

"In some of the UK’s most deprived areas, the church is likely to be one of the last institutions left standing and it’s so important that they have the resources to engage as early and as effectively as possible with the next generation."

Mount Zion Baptist Church – a lively, growing church in the centre of Cardigan, West Wales – has seen a 50 per cent increase in young people attending in the last three years. It will use its £9,500 grant to help fund a new, larger space for young people in the heart of the town.

Fellowship Afloat Charitable Trust in Tollesbury, Essex, will put its £10,900 towards a Gig – a boat which would take young people aged 11 to 14 out on adventures. The charity aids around 2,000 young people each year, including those supported by substance abuse programmes and experiencing homelessness, refugee families, young carers, and young people with physical and learning difficulties.

Allchurches trust director Rachel Whittington commented: Our Growing Lives grants programme supports a wide range of projects, delivered by churches and charities, with young people at their heart. It’s always inspiring to read about the innovative ways in which the organisations we fund are working together to meet local need and realise the power of young people to strengthen community.

In some of the UK’s most deprived areas, the church is likely to be one of the last institutions left standing and it’s so important that they have the resources to engage as early and as effectively as possible with the next generation. Applications for the programme are continuing to flood in and we’re excited about passing the £1m milestone in 2020.”

Under Growing Lives, grants of up to £25,000 are available and the amount depends on 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, as long as it is for a different project. You can find out more at www​.allchurch​es​.co​.uk/​g​r​o​w​i​n​g​lives

Allchurches Trust launched its Growing Lives grants programme in May 2019 with the aim of making churches and Christian organisations feel better equipped, inspired and confident in supporting young people in their communities to reach their potential, spiritually, and in many other ways.

In July, 21 projects received a share of £276,487 of funding in the first wave of grants to be awarded, and a further 65 representing a wide range of denominations will receive cheques this week totalling £644,975. The programme is still open for applications.

Photo: Fellowship Afloat Charitable Trust in Tollesbury, Essex