Funding success in lockdown

Author: Michele O'Keefe

Published on: 16 December 2021

2020 has been a year when many funders have changed their priorities to give more support to projects reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic and thus reduced the chance for grants to help with repairs to our medieval churches. Here are two funding success stories…

Community Mission

The Revd Canon Simon Ward and Pathway Café, Gt Yarmouth

The Pathway was founded in 2014 imagining serving lunch to 30 people on two days a week. By 2020 it was regularly feeding 100+ people three days a week.

How have you raised funds to support your community mission work in?

Pathway has benefited from extensive funding from various grant making bodies, most significantly Norfolk Community Foundation, WRAP and the Mercers’. Being realistic about how much a project costs and including everything such as utility bills and expenses when writing funding applications is key and remember ton plan ahead. Securing vital funding for Pathway has enabled us to consolidate our position, renew equipment even during lockdown, employ people to do the core work and is helping us to look forward and consider how we can further serve the community.

How does the congregation and wider community link with Pathway?

The support of the congregation has been vital and week by week they support in prayer, donations and volunteering, as volunteers are the lifeblood of any work we do. I am always keen to make sure Pathway’s vital work in our community remains on the agenda of the congregation and is seen as being at the heart of our mission in the town.

Appeals in the community have yielded good fruit with collections of food from supermarkets and individuals.

What advice would you give others thinking about a similar project?

Everything we do begins and ends in prayer. Following that, have a vision; seek funding; get organised; keep praying.

Once you’re clear about what you plan to do to serve the needs of the community, apply for funding – an afternoon filling in funding applications can reap great rewards. Always be clear about what your project does and doesn’t do and keep focussed.

Fabric Repair

Dr Rodney Edrich, Fabric Officer St Edmunds, Acle

The Quinquennial report of October 2019 indicated that the thatch on the north side of the nave was so thin, daylight could be seen through it. The situation could not be ignored as ingress of water would place the timber barrel vaulted ceiling in jeopardy.

How have you raised funds to support your roof repair works?

We began raising funds in the New Year by planning a series of coffee mornings, a flower festival etc. Then Covid-19 intervened. Only one fundraising event happened, a beer festival held in the Church Hall in February which raised £1,850. Deprived of all fundraising avenues, we had to rely on contributions from villagers and various grant awarding bodies.

During that time, I had support from the Parish Funding Support Officer who made many useful recommendations as to which grant funding bodies to approach.

We also had records of a previous appeal some 25 years ago which proved invaluable and I also gleaned information from articles past editions of PCC News. In all honesty I could not say that any part of the project was difficult as I had all the help needed and the funds were raised by August.

How did the congregation and wider community link with the project?

The PCC and the congregation are delighted with the roof, and as work progressed donations from the parishioners increased and this was very rewarding. There have been many favourable comments both from parishioners and visitors while the work was underway and since it has been completed. Local thatcher Richard Haughton was a joy to work with. The only sadness was that while the sedge for the ridge came from Norfolk, the reed was sourced in the Ukraine due to adverse weather conditions in 2018/19 in the United Kingdom.

What advice would you give others raising funds for fabric repairs?

I would advise others in a similar position to ask the Parish Funding Support Officer for advice, as well as reading articles in PCC News.

Both mission work in the community and fabric repair can be successfully supported by congregations, communities and local and national funders – even in the most difficult times in our lifetime.

The author...

Michele O’Keefe

Synodical, Pastoral and Executive Support Officer

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