Churches Trust for Cumbria new Development Officer Role
The Churches Trust for Cumbria (CtfC) has appointed a new Development Officer to offer support to more than 600 places of worship across the county.
Jayne Potts has taken on the part-time role through which she will provide advice to churches to encourage the sustainable use of buildings as well as offering help in the care, conservation or development of church projects.
Her appointment follows the publication of the CTfC Church Buildings Survey Report last year, which revealed many churches were in need of help to maintain their viability.
Jayne, who is currently completing an MSc in Building Conservation and Regeneration at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “One problem we face today is how to make our church buildings more sustainable for the future, both as places of worship and as community assets.
“This includes making churches more attractive for a variety of uses, as well as being better equipped to play a central role within the community”.
The Churches Trust for Cumbria was set up in 2008 and exists to support church buildings across the county. In 2012 and 2013 an ecumenical buildings survey was conducted after it became clear that church communities were struggling to fund ministry and buildings.
It led to the publication of the Church Buildings Survey Report 2015 which concluded:
• Only 1 in 5 churches are used more than once a week and half of all churches have financial concerns.
• Congregations are ageing (less than 7% of people attending church are younger than 18 years old) and getting smaller (the average congregation is 20 or less).
• In rural communities a faithful few are determinedly maintaining their church, but buildings need people. The survey shows the strongest guarantee of health is the commitment of a group of people.
It is off the back of that report that Jayne has been appointed to her role in order to support church communities.
The appointment also comes as the ecumenical God for All vision that by 2020 everyone in Cumbria has had an opportunity to explore more of the reality of God and God’s purpose in their lives, continues to be rolled out. Within that the partner denominations – Methodist, United Reformed and Anglican Churches – are developing strategies for the future use of their buildings.
Adam Naylor, the newly-appointed chairman of the Churches Trust for Cumbria, said: "With the appointment of Jayne Potts, the Churches Trust for Cumbria is now in a position to move forward after its well-received Church Buildings Survey Report of last year.
“Jayne and the Trustees are dedicated to helping Cumbrian churches to face the future with confidence. I would encourage congregations, and all who care for places of worship of any denomination, to contact Jayne over any questions relating to their buildings.
“Though she may not have answers to all their problems, they will find her enthusiasm and professionalism both helpful and encouraging!"
If you are considering developing the use of your church building and would like some support, please contact Jayne on 07979 606 131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
The Churches Trust for Cumbria was established in 2008 as a charitable trust, supported with funding from the North West Development Agency and the National Churches Trust. Unlike most counties, Cumbria has never had a Historic Churches Trust: CTfC fills that gap, taking a new approach to supporting faith communities. This new approach recognises and values the contribution that church buildings and church communities make to society in Cumbria, beyond their core purpose as places of worship.