Image via WikipediaHere is a story from the December 2010 edition of CTE News about an innovative local initiative.
Thrive West Midlands is a new, ecumenical, initiative from the Church Urban Fund in the West Midlands that will broaden support available to churches who work, or aspire to work, in tackling issues of poverty and proclaim good news practically in areas of deprivation.
The team at Thrive West Midlands know from experience that there is a great deal of passion, commitment and vision in many of the region’s churches and many of these would benefit from well directed and tailored support in order to realise their dreams for their work with their local communities. There are even more churches who have the desire to work with their local community to address their many needs but who need guidance in how and where to start. Thrive West Midlands is an inter-denominational, West Midlands wide initiative that seeks to equip Christians inspired to spread Jesus’ good news in action as well as word. Thrive West Midlands is still in a development stage, guided and overseen by an impressive steering group of experts and practitioners including representatives from Birmingham Churches Together, Queens Foundation, Worth Unltd, Anthony Collins Solicitors, alongside the Church Urban Fund and the Anglican Diocese. The Anglican Diocese of Birmingham is a key partner and is extending the work of its Community Regeneration Department through Thrive West Midlands, particularly around the area of developing collaborative activities with other Christian organisations.
Since June the team at Thrive West Midlands have met with dozens of existing projects and church workers across the region to establish what resources and support might be required, and have been developing pieces of work that directly support grass roots projects and key events are being held for churches, volunteers, clergy and workers to access valuable tools and knowledge as well as engage with questions over Thrive’s priorities for the next year.
One example of the kind of support Thrive is able to deliver is a piece of work carried out to support church projects that receive money from Birmingham City Council to deliver services to older adults. The application process to renew this funding took place again recently, a process that had been quite difficult for some projects first time around, but has become more stringent due to huge budget cuts. Thrive West Midlands has been able to bring projects together with the city council in a bid to curtail any worries and support projects through the application process.
Thrive West Midlands aims to deliver local solutions to local problems and has three areas of work:
- Resourcing the Sector by providing targeted support and signposting churches and projects to a range of high quality resources and services that our partners provide.
- Creating opportunity for churches wishing to explore how they can effectively serve their local community through both theological reflection around mission and the practical support required for a church working out what a role serving the community might look like.
- Spreading Influence by enabling churches who are working to address issues of poverty to speak collectively into policy development and strategic decision making at local, regional and national level.