We live at a time in which there is significant social uncertainty. Deprivation in the North of England is among the worst in the UK with many people, including children, struggling to secure enough food, decent housing or local support. There has been a rise in the numbers of people without a home, increased use of food banks among working people, rising hate crime and deepening isolation.
The good news is that our faith communities are getting more confident and providing the space and energy to help our towns and cities work through these challenges. Many thousands of volunteers, hundreds of projects and buildings are making a real difference.
The work of the social engagement and urban renewal team responds to God's call to love our neighbour, care for creation and enable flourishing communities. We want to see people living together as God intended free from poverty, inequality and injustice.
The diocese works alongside a wide range of groups and organisations helping to build relationships, promote learning and share resources. In particular we work closely with the Church Urban Fund to support Wellsprings Together and Faithful Neighbours.
Faithful Neighbours is a small seed taking root in the ground; the idea is for all Christians to show friendship to people who follow different faiths. We equip churches for confident, welcoming mission and ministry in a multi-faith world.
Places of Welcome
The Places of Welcome initiative is being developed by the Church Urban Fund’s Together Network and has been adopted here in the Diocese of Leeds. It is a network of small community organisations, including faith communities, who offer an unconditional welcome to local people for at least a few hours a week.
Christians believe God has made and will save the whole world through Jesus Christ. The whole of creation is worshiping and glorifying God all around us, all the time. We know that as people we are all wholly dependent on the earth for our basic needs as well as enjoying many other good things. Caring for creation is an essential part of Christian ministry and mission.
Disability & Inclusion
The church community is only complete when all are welcome. The Diocese of Leeds values the inclusion, contribution and ministry of people with disabilities. We aim to support parishes to ensuring that our buildings and activities are welcoming and accessible for people with disabilities: sensory or physical impairment, learning disabilities, including autism, mental health needs, and other “hidden” disabilities.
With the formation of Leeds Anglican Diocese it is an opportunity to enable ministers from urban social housing estates to form a support network. A small group gathered to organise "Hope for the Estates" in 2016. The response was amazing with people from across all of the episcopal areas coming together to share good practice together. It is hoped that this network will grow in the future.
Homelessness & Housing
The Diocese of Leeds is working with partners in the diocese of York and the Church Urban Fund to deliver enhanced local support for homeless people. We are about to embark on a new phase of Positive Pathways in which Wellsprings Together Bradford and Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland manage the delivery of relational support for people facing homelessness.
Asylum Seekers & Refugees
Across the diocese, there are many many churches providing safe spaces for asylum seekers and refugees. There are many charities and other organisations which can provide specialist help.
Fairtrade is a simple way each of us can make a difference through our everyday choices. It’s about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
Our joint venture with the Church Urban Fund, Wellsprings Together Bradford has been working with partners to tackle food poverty over the last 4 years. In that time, Wellsprings Together Bradford has set up a network open to all the local projects feeding people in need.