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Church covers lost earnings from pandemic with generous grant and fundraising

by Cara Bentley

A church in Lancing has been given enough money to replenish their lost earnings from Covid-19. 

Many churches have reported a loss of income since the lockdown because giving is down or their income sources have been stopped, such as hiring out their buildings to local groups. 

However, a church in the Diocese of Chichester has been given a grant from their local council which, on top of a huge local funding effort, has put St. Michael & All Angels church in almost the same financial position they were in before Covid-19. 

Father Felix Smith, who was appointed vicar of the church three years ago, told Premier: "We're in quite a deprived area, to get people to give to the church is quite difficult and so we've got a wonderful hall and lots of people booking that regularly. So, when Covid-19 came along it looked a bit bleak and we were sort of doing projections...and essentially, we were looking at about £11,000 loss, which for us is a huge amount."

The majority of the figure was actually replenished by the church community: "We've tried to get people signed up to be giving regularly online. We've been doing other things like parish quizzes on Zoom and we did a sponsored walk and cycle and lots and lots of different things. We managed to turn that £11,000 loss to about £3,000, from all those wonderful things. And then applying for this grant was that last little bit that got us almost back to where we were before which is really, really good."

A grant of £2,500 came from Adur and Worthing district council after the church filled out a form and were assessed according to their need. The church hall reopened for the first time this week as well with more groups booked in than before the lockdown. 

Father Felix, who has also rented out his own driveway, said this had many more benefits other than just helping them balance the books: "It's not just, the money, it's also the connection that we make with these groups. We have had people come along to whatever it might be, the art class, and they get to know some people and they've come along to church and become regular members because of that link. So, it's all really important."

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