Key Christian faith projects in our diocese will get a £4.2m boost, thanks to funding from the Church of England.
This successful bid for targeted support from the Church Commissioners will bolster and revitalise at least ten churches in the Bradford Episcopal Area and encourage a raft of new worshippers and lay leaders in its tough urban areas.
There will also be further investment in city centre worship, as the grant includes a second stage of funding for Fountains Church, a former nightclub, to finish building works and improvements ahead of Bradford’s high profile role as City of Culture 2025.
The programme has received unequivocal support from senior leaders and trustees within the diocese and the strong start made in the Bradford area is viewed as testament to the capacity in the diocese to develop further such programmes in line with our vision of encouraging confident Christians, growing churches and transforming communities.
The Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds said:
“We are grateful that the Church Commissioners recognise the potential for growing Christ’s church across the Bradford District. This money enables parishes with strong worshipping communities to give even more support to neighbouring churches in their outreach and service.
“This grant will benefit some of Bradford’s most challenged neighbourhoods, and will also enable the completion of building works at our new Fountains Church in the heart of the city - ready for it to play a central part in City of Culture 2025.”
Fountains Church aims to play a major part in hosting events as part of that celebration, thanks to its combination of custom-built conference and meeting spaces that are due to be ready by 2024.
Dr Manoj N L Joshi, Chairman of the Bradford Economic Partnership was amongst civic leaders who backed the diocese’s successful bid for money from the CofE’s Strategic Development Fund and said:
“I strongly support building the capacity of an assortment of hospitality venues, especially such as proposed by Fountains Church, which is affordable by all communities.
“Opening up access to facilities in the City Centre by Not for Profit organisations, especially in the build up to Bradford City of Culture is greatly needed and welcomed and ought to be supported and encouraged.”
In urban areas of Bradford, St John’s Great Horton, Holy Trinity Idle, St John’s Clayton, and a new resourcing church: Girlington, Manningham and Heaton will send people and resources from their existing congregations to support and grow other local Church of England churches by 2027.
Churches in need of such help have been identified as part of the diocese’s wider missional strategy entitled Barnabas: Encouraging Confidence with the aim of giving every church support and opportunity.
Diocesan Secretary Jonathan Wood said: “We are committed to supporting churches to grow and to transform their communities. This money will help us both in Bradford and more widely as we learn and share it with others
Engaging with young people is a key part of diocesan strategy and the new funding will also enable Fountains Church to become a host and hub for city-wide children and youth work.
Led by Revd Linda Maslen, it plans to provide the space for a Bradford-wide youth service that will raise leaders, make disciples, and share the good news of Jesus Christ with a deprived, diverse, and under-resourced generation.
In turn, this will increase the ability of the churches in the wider Bradford network to enhance their own youth work, with Fountains acting as a hub to generate momentum.
Revd Linda said: “I am so delighted by further investment in our beautiful city. This means we will be able to conclude the physical work on our building, contributing to the development of the West End, and also to continue to focus on the mission and ministry to the communities we serve.”
The Bradford district is the fifth largest metropolitan district in England and contains a fifth of the Diocese’s population (550,000 out of 2.73 million). This area encompasses the towns of Keighley, Bingley, Shipley and Ilkley.
One of the youngest cities in Europe, in the British Government’s “levelling up agenda”, Bradford ranked top as the place of highest priority which could most benefit from investment.
Furthermore, as the Bradford District Council’s ten-year culture strategy put it: “Bradford is the diverse face of modern Britain”. Given current trajectories, in less than 3 years, half of the population will be South Asian, Eastern European, African, Caribbean or Arab heritage.
https://youtu.be/nf6gdykK98E - Fountains
https://youtu.be/cfDtbW12hcI - St John’s Greengates
https://youtu.be/aq6IhAry6tA - St Wilfrid Lidget Green