Together Lancashire is managed and run locally, responding to local needs and supporting church leaders and members, community and youth workers and voluntary activists to tackle the effects of poverty. Our board has representatives from each of the partners and includes people with a wide range of skills and contacts in church, business, local government and the voluntary sector. It is chaired by Ken Wales.
What we are doing
Currently the focus is on three key issues:
1. Raising awareness of the issues of poverty …. through
speaking to churches and other gatherings,
one to one conversation with clergy and project staff working in areas of high multiple deprivation,
writing in various publications and communicating through local media,
pro-actively sharing information about research, events and good practice via our blogs and online social network groups..
2. Co-ordinating and supporting food poverty initiatives …
We are building a partnership to improve the supply chain of food throughout the county, encouraging the sharing of good practice and the signposting of clients to other relevant services, and advising on funding and partnership opportunities. In Blackpool we have brought together churches to establish a food bank service covering the whole of the town, while in Preston, South Ribble, Blackburn, Burnley, Morecambe and Lancaster we are offering support and encouragement to the established and emerging food banks. We are also in touch with a number of soup kitchens and community café projects and have helped recruit volunteers from churches and communities to work in them. Finally we hope to develop links between these services and community food growing projects in order to encourage local sourcing of healthy food for people in poverty.
3. Networking, sharing experience and support for church projects and activities...
In Preston and South Ribble we are building on the existing work of Preston Christian Action Network (PCAN). Details of their activities, which include work on homelessness, food poverty, unemployment, listening and counselling ministries and local youth and community work in deprived neighbourhoods are found on the website www.pcan.org.uk. News of events, activities, research and resources is regularly posted on the PCAN BLOG and via a Facebook Group which currently has 45 members.
In Blackpool we have spent the last few months building a network of churches and organisations who are committed to tackling poverty together. We have concentrated on food poverty issues and made links with existing networks such as the Blackpool Homeless Partnership and Churches Together in Blackpool. We are working to build up a database of relevant projects and activities and have established an online presence through the Together Lancashire in Blackpool Blog and associated Facebook group.
In Pendle we are convening meetings of local church leaders and activists.
In Blackburn and Accrington we are supporting food bank initiatives, churches working with asylum seekers and on deprived estates.
In Lancaster & Morecambe we have attended meetings of existing networking initiatives such as Hope Together Lancaster and Churches Together in Lancaster and encouraged projects such as food-banks and homelessness projects.
Across much of Lancashire we work in a context of ethnic and religious diversity and have built strong links with local forums of faith, Near Neighbours projects, and other interfaith activities. We also have good links with many secular Voluntary and Community Sector networks and organisations and are working to strengthen our relationships with the various local authorities and other statutory agencies.