Local Churches Tackling Poverty Together

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Review of benefits sanctions.... Information from CPAG

A broad range of organisations and individuals submitted evidence to Matthew Oakley's review of the operation of the sanctions system for JSA claimants on mandatory back-to-work schemes.  This page has links to many of them.

Friday, 25 July 2014

BCH CAT Week Of Community Action


We will Officially Launch the BCH Community Action Team in Mereside with a 'Week of Community Action' during the final week of August.

You'll be pleased to know that they are all mid-week dates too:

  • Tues 26th Aug
  • Wed 27th Aug
  • Thur 28th Aug
  • Fri 29th Aug


(the Monday is a bank holiday, so we'll kick start on the Tuesday!)


On each of the days the team will meet together and get kitted up outside our new Tool Depot (which will be one of the Branstree Road Garages – FY4 4UD) for 9:00am. Each project will run until 1:30pm or may finish earlier.


If you would like to be involved in the project days, or could help provide volunteers from your organisation, or could provide a service to connect with people while we're out on the streets, then please contact me and let me know how you could help :)


- I would certainly love to arrange a multi-agency approach to the launch week, so if you're available on any or all of the dates above, then I would love to link in with what you're doing, help promote your services and we can work together to make an even bigger impact on Mereside!


We will be doing a mixture of gardening projects and litter picking projects all over the estate, and I will be planning a Street BBQ for at least one of the days too!

So it will be high profile and something worth partnering with if you can, and a great and unique way to connect with local people about the services you provide.


Keep checking the BCH Twitter feed for more updates as well:



I look forward to hearing from you!





James Baker

Community Development Officer

Blackpool Coastal Housing



07825 733717

01253 477130


Based at the Grange Park Housing Office, 67 Chepstow Road, FY3 7PH

Monday, 21 July 2014

Job Opportunity-- School and Community Worker

St Matthew's Church of England Church & Primary School

(The Parish of The Risen Lord Preston Lancashire)

School and Community Worker

Salary £21-23,000 pa

We wish to appoint a person to work with St Matthew's Primary School developing our

worshipping life, Christian ethos and community engagement, and to work with St

Matthew's Church focussing on work with children, young people and families.

This is a fantastic opportunity to establish a new role in a challenging inner-city parish.

We are interested in seeing you if you have:

  •  a personal Christian faith
  • !experience of and a passion for working with people of all ages and backgrounds
  • ability to lead and communicate, working with staff and volunteers
  • ability to develop new initiatives
  • a willingness to commit to the local church and community

We offer

A full-time post with funding for three years

A varied and engaging church and community

Professional support and opportunities for professional development

Please see our website for further details and an application form:


 or contact Rev Peter Nunn, 01772 794312

Closing date: 12 September 2014

Digital Champions

For people working to support those who have limited ICT skills..(and these are increasingly important with much of goverenment employment and benefits going online.. and with the forthcoing roll out of Universal credit)  there is some useful information and ideas below.. Acutally it's in the form of a report briefing from a recent event in Bolton. .. Hope it's helpful.

Would you like to make a difference; to work with colleagues or people in the community where you work or live, who are not online?

Would you like to become a digital champion?

Then ............read all about it!


Digital Champions Event at Bolton, 9th July, 2014


The event was organised by Tinder Foundation (formerly GO-ON UK in conjunction with eon energy UK.  Eon energy are involved because they understand that 1/5th of their customers have no skills in completing digital transactions and increasingly their services are going online.  Tinder Foundation is a charity which started in the NE in October 2013.  It is government funded and the aim is to increase the number of people who can communicate, email, use search engines, complete application forms online and keep safe online. 

Currently in the North West 763,000 people have never used a computer.  In the Greater Manchester area 263,000 have never been online.  This is against a background of research that says if an individual is online they can make £560 savings each year, 3.1 million people over the age of 65 years go more than one week without seeing friends, family or neighbours, 90% of jobs will be advertised only online by 2015 and increasingly for most jobs, applications have to be made online.  The aim is to reduce the number of people who do not  have access online by 25% by July 2015.

The Tinder Foundation offer resources, communications, support and provide campaigning and marketing tools, train digital champions and share in the celebration of successes.

A digital champion is there to inspire and help individuals to use computers and the internet.  They need basic computer skills, as well as being patient, a good listener and be enthusiastic about the internet and essentially they need to enjoy helping people and spending time in other peoples company.

Some of the challenges that people face with using computers and solutions:

v    accessibility – if they have a disability

o       dragon speech can be provided and funding accessed

o       abilitynet provides guides and advice on technologies available

v    accessibility – no hardware to learn how to use computers or access the internet

o       computers available in a number of community locations including libraries and learning centres

v    difficulty with language and literacy

o       google translate can be used

o       do-it.org – volunteer organisation for local commities

v    no support or training opportunities

o       local providers and councils are offering free training


 www.ukonlinecentres.com/centresearch has a list of local centres where individuals can volunteer to support learners or where learners can go to get online.

www.digitalskills.com provides free resources for training

www.learnmyway.com provides a free resource for training


The 13-19th October is get online week.  It is a week when we can encourage people to go online.  The basic skills that individuals need to get started are:

v    Using a mouse

v    Understanding and using the keyboard, including shortcuts

v    Searching skills

v    Emailing

v    Internet safety

v    Using smart phones and tablets


To create a Learning Plan for an individual:

1.     Find out what they already know

2.     What do they want to know or be able to do?

3.     Plan how they are going to get there – are there resources that are needed, training courses, additional support, set a timescale and detailed action list

4.     Review how they are getting on

5.     Celebrate achievements – the smallest things can be the biggest achievement

It should take approximately 10 weeks to become a competent IT user.

Tips for supporting learners:

v    Keep language simple and explanations short

v    Demonstrate as well as instruct

v    Never take over from the learner, always let them do it

v    Make any training relevant – if they want to shop, show them how to access shopping sites, if they want to research or book holidays, show them holiday sites, if they are interested in college courses, research their area for local colleges and then access college sites, etc.



Thursday, 10 July 2014

Major new report from CUF.. out today

Today we launch our new report ‪#‎GoodNeighbours‬: How Churches Help Communities Flourish. The research shows that 10 milliion people each year in England rely on church community support and services. Read more here: http://cuf.org.uk/blog/news-church-urban-fund

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

National Estates Churches Network Annual Conference 2014:

Farewell to Welfare!?

1st October St James Church Thurland Rd, Bermondsey, London, SE16 4AA

15th October St Michael in the City Upper Pitt St, Liverpool, L1 5DB

This year's annual conference explores the effect that the Cuts are having on the people of our poorer housing estates. We are really excited that our keynote speaker at both venues is John Battle the brilliant long-time campaigner and advocate for those who are marginalised. As well as high quality input, there will be time to share and reflect together. What does our Christian Faith demand of us who live and work with those who really feel the impact of benefit reform? Can we make the system better or is it really 'Farewell to Welfare'? Come and join people like you who are struggling to find answers. Book online or you can phone or text 07933 438304 giving us your contact details We can send you a booking form and answer any questions about the conference. It will be great to hear from you.

A whole day conference at just £20 including lunch.

So book one of the two dates:

1st October or 15th October 2014

and see you there!

To book online for London, 1st October, click here.

or to book online for Liverpool, 15th October, click here.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Recent statistics re children and care/ child protection etc. .

Recent statistics re children and care/ child protection etc. . Not a happy to see that
death rates were among the highest in the North West.

Would be good to hear more in this report about listening to and involving children themselves...

Friday, 4 July 2014

Serious about Transformation

Tear Fund's latest email newsletter

From Joseph Rowntree Founation

Publication: A minimum income standard for the UK in 2014

The Minimum Income Standard 2014 study asks members of the public what goods and services they think different types of households need to live to an adequate level.

Published annually since 2008, the study uses this information to calculate how much people have to earn – taking into account their family circumstances, the changing cost of these essentials and changes to the tax and benefit system – to reach this benchmark.


This year's research finds:

  • a lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100, up from £12,000 in 2008. A couple with two children need to earn more than £20,200 each, compared to £13,900 each in 2008. Single working-age people must now earn more than £16,200, up from £13,500 in 2008;
  • despite social and economic change, the list of goods and services is very similar to that of the original study in 2008, but people's ability to afford them has declined. Overall the cost of a basket of essential items has risen by 28% over six years, while average wages have increased 9% and the minimum wage 14%;
  • increased tax allowances have eased the pressure somewhat for some households, but the freeze to child benefit and ongoing cuts in tax credits have outweighed this for low-earning families with children. Out-of-work benefits have fallen further and now provide 39% of what single, working-age people need to reach a Minimum Income Standard. On the other hand, pensioner couples who claim all their allowances receive 95% of the amount required.

What future for Voluntary Services - 1st NCIA Inquiry papers released

Some signifcant thinking in these reports for anyone with an interest in policies affectin the VCFS.. Please circulate..

NCIA has begun the release of 16 major reports as part of its Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services. Using the contributions of senior academics, voluntary sector managers, practitioners and consultants, this series of reports presents alarming evidence of the extent to which voluntary groups have allowed themselves to become subservient contractors, in the process muzzling their ability to speak up for their users and communities, and adopting 'managerialist' workplace practices in a 'race to the bottom'. The reports also give examples of people resisting these pressures and their stand with local people affected by cuts, privatisation and austerity.

The first four reports in the series are now available as downloads:

The Ideological Context by Professor Dexter Whitfield examines the changes brought about by the commitment of successive governments to the principles and practice of neo-liberalism, explains what neo-liberalism is, how this has reshaped the environment in which the UK voluntary and community sector now operates and its impact on voluntary agencies.

Ordinary Glory: Big Surprise not Big Society by Dr Mike Aiken looks at the impact of this changed environment on small volunteer-based community groups, shows how the influence of contracting and marketisation has damaged all levels of voluntary action but describes how, with a little encouragement, these groups and their activities might discover the seeds of a positive future.

Outsourcing and the Voluntary Sector by Laird Ryan documents the Coalition Government's drive to privatise public services and evidences the damage being wrought by competition and marketisation, shows where the money is going, and uncovers the growing trend of Voluntary Services as sub-contractors to profit-hungry corporations like Serco and G4S

The Devil that has come amongst us by Andy Benson looks in detail at the procurement and commissioning regimes through which this progressive enslavement on voluntary groups has been achieved, and the ways this has diminished interest and capacity to take their mandate from users and communities and speak out against injustice.  

Further reports will be released over the next few weeks. These will deal with the rise of social enterprise and investment, changes in the ecology of the voluntary services sector, stories from the frontline, the failure of 'leadership' at local and national levels, and the impact on volunteering and employment practices. There will also be specific studies on services for black and minority ethnic elders and refugees and migrant workers and reports on Scotland and Northern Ireland. These reports will be available via the NCIA website - http://www.independentaction.net/category/inquiry-voluntary-services/updates-reports/.

Further information available from Andy Benson: andy@independentaction.net.  

New blog on Fasting, Food and Food banks

Interesting blog here from Charlotte Dando of William Temple Foundation

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A cultural shift for the Common Good


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A cultural shift for the Common Good

Dear Friends,

There is plenty of evidence that the bonds of mutual respect in society have been deeply damaged: we are disturbed by this fracturing and inequality and our natural instincts tell us a profound change is needed. There are signs of movement, but it won't happen quickly, and we will need to commit ourselves to a generational cultural shift. It's too important to leave to politicians and it will require the participation of ordinary citizens at every level of society doing what they can according to their ability, for the Common Good. 

We say that through our combined networks and shared commitment to human dignity and community, people in the different Christian denominations working together are well-placed to be agents of change for the Common Good. We need to reacquaint ourselves with the social traditions of the churches, and engage not only in social action alongside vulnerable communities, but also in supporting negotiation between estranged interests to develop structural solutions that enable all to flourish. Collaboration with fellow faith traditions and secular allies will be vital.

People of faith and goodwill may be prepared personally to do the patient work of reconciliation - between left and right, rich and poor, secular and faith, business and unions, educated and uneducated, men and women, local and national, old and young. We need to reach out beyond our comfort zones. We at T4CG invest a lot of time intentionally meeting people who are not already our friends; we believe this kind of relational approach will lay the stepping stones to the change that is coming. Active relationship building brings forward new energy that will lead to cultural change.

The language of the Common Good sees human beings as having a worth greater than their rights. So we are moving from a paradigm focusing on rights, where individuals are in opposition to one another, to one driven by virtue, vocation, conscience and relationships, which stresses our interdependence and our corporate nature. There is a fundamental strain of liberalism that can easily sound superior and risks alienating good people, the majority, who want to help. So rather than antagonise each other, we must negotiate, and this will only be possible if we have genuine respect for human beings with whom we disagree. It will challenge us all, and requires the application of 'Love your enemies' and 'Love one another' in practice.

News about our work

Last year people across the churches told us they felt powerless about how to counter the negative narrative that characterises our polarised politics and they asked us for help with a 'language of hope' and a 'vocabulary of the Common Good'. We are responding by developing a new conversation model: a Common Good Conversation to help ordinary people of estranged positions generate a language of hope together. We are excited that MB Reckitt Trust has generously awarded us funding for a pilot and we hope this will lead to a series of Common Good Conversation events. The pilot will take place in October and we are starting with the very human topic of 'Home' (housing, property and homelessness).  Sponsored by CCLA, the ethical investment management firm, and in partnership with Housing Justice, the pilot will involve a group of invited experts who will help us produce a model that can be replicated across their networks. Watch this space!

Since our last newsletter our first cross-party discussion on the Common Good took place in Parliament. Twenty MPs and Peers from across party lines came together for a two hour discussion under Chatham House rules. We were told it was an unusually reflective gathering; guests were very appreciative of the opportunity to meet in an unhurried neutral setting to talk about the Common Good. Feedback was enthusiastic: 'very stimulating', thought-provoking', 'a superb event – fascinating discussion' and we have been asked to follow up. It took place thanks to the generosity of Christians in Parliament, and in partnership with them, we are planning further opportunities for Parliamentarians to come together across party divides and learn how Catholic social thought can be a helpful tool to discern policy for the Common Good.

For your interest this month:

  • The Church of England has placed a major debate on the Common Good at the heart of its General Synod in York on 12 July. Click here to read the official briefing paper, which is very good.
  • For what is effectively T4CG's latest position statement, click here. Jenny Sinclair spoke on behalf of T4CG at the University of Kent Conference on Post-Liberal Politics and Ideas along with other speakers including David Goodhart, Phillip Blond and John Milbank in a small and significant gathering looking at the cultural and political shifts we want to see. Videos and transcriptions of the sessions will be posted soon here
  • People may think they know what the churches are doing at grassroots level but the reality is more impressive than you might imagine. We recommend a video by Church Urban Fund about their Joint Ventures work in the most deprived communities and a short animation about their approach here.
  • We are delighted and honoured to include papers by the leading Common Good thinker, the Jesuit Dr Patrick Riordan SJ in our Opinion Pieces. We are showcasing his paper 'Europe's Common Good' and providing a link to his 'A Blessed Rage for the Common Good'.
  • A secular initiative called 'Call to Action for the Common Good' has emerged from a group led by Locality, CSV, Civil Exchange and NAVCA that brings together significant groups across civil society. We are pleased to be involved in their developing thinking. Their report is asking for comments.
  • The Living Wage is beginning to gain real traction. If you know an employer we recommend you discuss with them 'Work That Pays', the final report of the Living Wage Commission, launched last week by Archbishop John Sentamu, downloadable here.
  • The Annual Justice and Peace Conference, 'Called to Life in All its Fullness' is at Swanwick on 18-20 July. This is the major annual Catholic gathering designed to empower lay people concerned for justice. Workshops on Living Wage etc; programme for children and young people. Places still available
  • Finally we recommend Anglican Social Theology - to be launched on 14 July. With chapters by Anna Rowlands, Jonathan Chaplin, Malcolm Brown, Alan Suggate and John Hughes it bridges several traditions and promises to be an important step forward in renewing the social tradition of the Church. 

We hope you find our Resources section useful and our Opinion Pieces and case studies interesting. If you want to know more about what inspires us, read about the Sheppard Worlock partnership in our Background pages.

In spite of how busy we're getting we are still working pro bono until we can find the time to raise funds for an operations manager. We are looking for volunteers - someone willing to take minutes at our meetings, someone talented at grant applications and someone able to help us organise the links and resources on our Further Reading pages. Do get in touch if you can help.

We hope you find this helpful and that your own work is going well. We are always pleased to hear from you so don't hesitate to get in touch - after all, we're working Together for the Common Good.

If you'd like to read more about us click here. There is lots happening on Twitter so do follow us @T4CG.

Every best wish,

Together for the Common Good

If this message has been forwarded to you, and you would like to add your own email address to the list, you can subscribe here. Newsletters will be sent on an occasional basis. You have been included in this very limited mailing because we believe T4CG will be of interest to you. If you'd prefer not to receive subsequent updates please use the link below to unsubscribe.
Together for the Common Good is guided by a Steering Group: Patrick Coldstream (Chair), Hilary Russell, Nicholas Sagovsky, Jenny Sinclair, Alison Gelder, Andrew Bradstock, Maria Power, +Stephen Platten, Tim Livesey, Peter McGrail. We consult with a wider group of advisors.

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