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 through our diocesan joint venture Wellsprings Together.
A small team supports the diocesan vision for transforming communities worked through the many wonderful groups and volunteers across the diocese. This work enables churches make difference in their communities by getting the most from locally available assets, relationship building and through dynamic partnerships. A key goal is to increase the number of churches engaged with their communities – particularly where there are high levels of poverty and poor social integration. The work is shaped and directed locally through area based champions with the support of the area bishop.
We equip churches for confident, welcoming mission and ministry in a multi-faith world and Christians for showing friendship to people who follow different faiths. Near Neighbours brings people together in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in.
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 have embarked on a phase of Positive Pathways in which Wellsprings Together 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.
Wellsprings Together has been working with partners to tackle food insecurity for a number of years and has set up the Feeding Bradford & Keighley Network. More than 65 organisations are linked together and working in partnership through this network. Coordinated by cathy.henwood [at] wellspringstogether.org.uk (Cathy Henwood) of Wellsprings Together, the network helps to support local initiatives which are tackling food insecurity. Feeding Bradford & Keighley coordinates efforts, channels funding and shares information to support groups that work to increase food security.
theo.sheridan-watts [at] wellspringstogether.org.uk (Theo Sheridan-Watts)