In the Together Network our Joint Ventures with Church of England dioceses are also working in villages and rural parts of England. It can often be hard for people living in rural areas to access the support they need. The latest official research found that around 200,000 people living in rural areas do not have access to a bank account. Public transport links are often infrequent and hard to access. That’s why in Cornwall and Newcastle we are beginning the process of working more closely with churches in rural communities to bridge these gaps.
In the village of Bugle Transformation Cornwall is supporting the local Methodist church as they begin to put into place plans to provide a safe space for families in the area. They are also providing support to a local church in the seaside village of Downderry who run a Memory Café for people with memory problems and dementia.
In Newcastle, Together Newcastle are planning to work with rural parishes in the area to start the ‘Know Your Church, Know Your Neighbourhood’ course. The course is designed to help local churches think about themselves in relation to their community. By listening to the needs of their local community churches can serve in an effective and more powerful way.
Remember the storms and flooding which ripped through parts of southern and eastern England in 2014? We supported projects working to help rebuild lives and communities in the aftermath.
In Ilmister and Crewkerne we helped support and extend the work of the new rural life advisor Rev. Annie Gurner.
Annie has been focusing her work on helping local families, farmers and churches affected by the flooding. There is still much fragility within these communities as many rural businesses struggle to get back to where they were before the floods.
‘Churches are increasingly aware of what more they can do to support their neighbours both emotionally, spiritually and practically, and our presence in these communities is now more evident.’- Annie
This year Annie led “Faith on the Levels”, a Lent Quiet day for eight churches from affected communities based on the ‘Theology of Land and Restoration’. Amongst a host of other initiatives, Annie is also working with the Flood Action Group to progress the recommendations agreed in a 2014 report, and with the Farming Community Network, by keeping in touch with those still in the recovery process.
Often people living in more rural areas struggle to access the resources needed for rebuilding their communities. Such transformational, hands-on work is particularly vital.
In Newlyn many fishermen were left without any means of bringing in their usual income as they could not launch their boats during this period. In order to help combat the full consequences of this for families, the Fishermen’s Mission increased their capacity to help pay bills, with the support of Church Urban Fund.
Author: Lynsey Robinson
Date: 27 August 2015
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