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(Credit: Jonny Gios Photography)

Churches and faith groups across the Westmorland and Furness Council area are being asked to contribute to a social action audit during the month of April this year. In 2015 a national social action audit found that 4400 churches and faith groups were mobilising  nearly 140,000 volunteers across the UK and reaching 3.5 million beneficiaries. These results  were staggering with a networth to the UK economy of £3 billion a year. 

Fast forward 9 years and Churches Together in Cumbria, Westmorland & Furness Council and Cinnamon Network are working together to discover the impact in our area today. 

We know that churches and other faith communities are providing weekly warm hubs,  mental health cafe’s, dementia support groups, bereavement support, parent & toddlers  groups, luncheon groups, and the list goes on. We are keen to understand what is going on  and where so that overlapping activities, gaps in provision and opportunities for new  partnerships can be identified.  

We would therefore like to encourage churches and other faith groups in the Westmorland  & Furness to register for the audit before 1st April. Registration is a commitment by each  church or faith community to spend no more than 30 minutes submitting information on  what they are doing, how many volunteers are involved and how many people benefit. 

Derek Lacey, Churches Together in Cumbria, Social Responsibility Forum Chair commented “This is a great opportunity to understand what churches and other faith communities are  doing now, and might do in future, to benefit our area.” 

So far, we’ve had over 90 churches and faith groups register. Many of their projects are  alleviating poverty, supporting safer and stronger families, building safer stronger resilient communities and enabling people to flourish. 

Jonny Gios, the Co-ordinator for the project commented “the more contributions we have  the better picture we will develop. So, if you’ve not yet registered, we would love for you to  be part of this project and to celebrate what is being achieved. Please don’t be modest.  Your activity is part of a bigger picture of what is being done across the Westmorland and  Furness area”. 

The results from across the Westmorland & Furness area will be published in the summer. and will provide a valuable picture of what is happening and where. Insights generated by  the audit will identify how churches and other faith communities can make a more effective  contribution to the vision for Westmorland and Furness to be ‘a great place to live, work  and thrive’. 

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