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Parish boundary maps go digital

by Ruth Sax

Parish boundary maps across Wales are going digital for the first time in a major project aimed at improving the way churches serve their communities.

The Church in Wales is investing in the project to create a complete digital map of the whole country, including the boundaries of its 466 parishes and ministry areas. The maps will then be used to model demographic trends specific to each area. 

The project will provide church leaders with key data about people in their areas - such as the age profile, education level and employment status - enabling them to tailor their services accordingly. That could mean setting up more foodbanks or debt centres in areas where there is greatest poverty or extending initiatives, such as Messy Church and after school clubs, to places where there are high numbers of children. 

The data collected will also provide a better context for the Church in Wales' membership statistics and help inform decisions about how best to support congregations.

The mapping work is being undertaken by Exegesis, a Geographical Information Systems agency, with the data software provided by the Church Army. The project is supported by the Allchurches Trust with a grant of £14,500.

Simon Lloyd, Provincial Secretary of the Church in Wales said: "We are very grateful to Allchurches Trust for this grant towards our digital mapping project. This is an exciting project which will provide us for the first time with a complete digital picture of our parish, mission and ministry areas. It will enable churches to improve their mission and ministry as they will be able to see where there is greatest need and to respond in the most effective way. As the Church in Wales celebrates its centenary this year, this project will give us the most up-to-date tools on which to help build our future."

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