Rural Churches for Everyone aims to secure a sustainable future for our much-loved church buildings in some of the least populated areas of Northumberland, and just into County Durham. The project is the fourth element of Newcastle Diocese’s Inspired North East programme which included the Inspired Futures (link: http://inspirednortheast.org.uk/inspired-futures ) and Spirit in Stone (link: http://www.spiritinstone.co.uk/ ) projects.
Rural Churches for Everyone is a partnership project managed by Newcastle Diocese Rural Strand. Other partners in the project are:
- Community Action Northumberland (CAN) is here to support and help sustain rural communities in Northumberland by Promoting rural issues, Empowering organisations, and Supporting individuals. http://ca-north.org.uk/ They are creating and coordinating the ‘Aspire Award’ quality standard for churches, based on their successful Hallmark scheme for village halls.
- Centre for the Rural Economy is a research centre at Newcastle University. It specialises in interdisciplinary social science and applied policy research. We work towards the achievement of sustainable development in rural areas. https://www.ncl.ac.uk/cre/ They are supporting the formative evaluation of the project, an approach that has proved invaluable as we progress through the covid-19 pandemic.
RCfE also has three protected landscape partners that are supporting benefices in their area. The fourth benefice (Upper Wansbeck) does not have a similar partner, which is part of the contrast between benefices being studied in the evaluation.
- Northumberland National Park Authority is a conservation organisation whose purposes relate to conserving and enhancing the special qualities of the area, and promoting opportunities to enjoy it. https://www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/ They are supporting the PCCs of the North Bellingham Cluster.
- Northumberland Coast AONB is Local people & partnerships working together to preserve one of the UK’s finest landscapes. https://www.northumberlandcoastaonb.org/ They are supporting the PCCs of the Coastal Cluster.
- North Pennines AONB team works to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area, and we focus on nature recovery and helping people to make an emotional connection with nature. https://www.northumberlandcoastaonb.org/ They are supporting the Pennine Moorland Cluster.
RCfE is delivered by a part time Project Manager (Philippa Carter) employed by Newcastle Diocese Supported by a freelance Strategic Development consultant (Yvonne Conchie, www.conchie.co ).
RCfE is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/ through their Places of Worship: Inspiring Ideas programme, which explores new ways of helping places of worship to become more resilient and adapt to their changing environment.