Churches in Lincoln knew they were involved in a lot of social action projects, but had no idea of the scale or breadth of the services they provided. There was also a real disconnect between the churches and the local authorities in the city, so they decided to conduct a Cinnamon Faith Action Audit.
The Cinnamon Faith Action Audit they conducted in 2015 showed that collectively churches and faith groups within the city were filling 4,900 volunteers roles to support 63,000 beneficiary interactions through more than 350 social action projects. Collectively the financial value of support they provided equated to £14 million.
Their research gave churches the opportunity to talk directly to council leaders, who openly admitted that they didn’t know the extent of work being done by local churches, who to contact about working with them or even if churches were willing to work in partnership.
As a result, the churches set up the Active Faith Network, to coordinate their social action and to offer ‘one voice’ with whom the council and others could communicate. The group have now secured funding to take on a member of staff to coordinate the group’s efforts to support the vulnerable within the city.
Their approach to social action has become much more strategic, with subgroups working to assess specific needs and gaps in provision. Together the churches are working more closely with local authorities and other organisations to address key issues.
In May 2017 they hosted a Civic Prayer Breakfast at Lincoln Cathedral, which provided a wonderful opportunity to maintain the dialogue started by the audit, and to pray strategically for the city of Lincoln.