On 29th November 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question on church social action projects:
Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent steps the Church of England has taken at parish level to support the needs of local communities.
Dame Caroline Spelman: This year the Church of England surveyed its 16,000 parish churches about their involvement in social action and local community projects. Of the 13,000 churches that responded the survey revealed that 80% were involved in providing services for the benefit of their local communities, either standalone or in partnership with others. These 33,000 projects included debt counselling, lunch clubs, language classes, food banks, children’s clubs, community cafes, holiday and breakfast clubs and night shelters.
There are many good examples of work in the Rochester Diocese, 11 of the 12 Church of England churches within the Gillingham deanery (which covers the Gillingham and Rainham constituency) are involved in providing on average at least 4 different projects to support the wider local community.
The areas in which the churches in Gillingham deanery are engaging is as follows:
- 10 churches provide or support a Foodbank
- 8 churches operate a parent/carer and toddler group
- 7 churches operate a night shelter or other homeless provision
- 6 churches provide pastoral provision for wider community through operating street pastors groups, counselling/support, tackling loneliness projects
- 5 churches operate Youth projects (for the wider community)
- 4 churches provide a Lunch club or drop in service.