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Cumbrian churches urged to register for 'vital' audit to show authorities community impact

by Will Hobbs
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Churches and faith groups in Cumbria are being encouraged to join an audit to work out their impact on the local community and how they can reach more people.

The last audit in 2015 found groups were reaching 3.5 million beneficiaries, via initiatives such as warm hubs, mental health cafes, and bereavement support.

Churches and faith groups need to register for the audit before 1st April.

Rev Jonny Gios from Gateway Church in Cumbria, is leading the charge when it comes to urging churches to get involved.

"Whether it's a food bank, a parent and toddler group, and I just really want them [the council] to stand back and say, wow, they are doing quite a lot across the area.

"And that will then be a bridge into a conversation of 'Ok, what else can the church do?

Local government reorganization in 2023 saw Cumbria’s seven councils replaced by two new unitary councils, making the task of informing local government of the impact, reach, and necessity of faith groups far more momentous.

"The church is struggling as a lot along with other third sector organizations, volunteering has decreased, but actually the amount of need out there is increased.

"So my prayer is that actually through this people will be Oh, I really want to get involved in that group.

"And I didn't know that they will do and so it raises the profile of what faith groups are doing community and conversations are started with potentially really exciting opportunities for partnership in the future.

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