2013 Publications Faith in Action At a time when many people are struggling to find work or to cope with the rising cost of living there is a growing concern about poverty in this country. Middlesbrough faces particular challenges; unemployment here is twice the national average and child poverty the third highest in the country. This report summarises the findings of a survey conducted by Together Middlesbrough that quantifies the scale and range of social action undertaken by Christian organisations across Middlesbrough to meet these needs. Watch a short film to see how churches are working together to tackle poverty in Middlesbrough. Building an Ethical Financial System: the Role of Credit Unions Credit unions represent a more ethical, community-based approach to banking. For that reason, the Archbishop has called on churches and church members to support credit unions in their local area, helping the sector as a whole to grow. This briefing paper gives some background to the issues surrounding the problem of payday lending and the role credit unions can play in building a more ethical financial system. It also suggests ways in which churches can get involved with and support their local credit unions. A Theological Reflection on Asset-Based Community Development Although not an explicitly Christian methodology, the core values and methods of asset-based community development resonate deeply with Christian theology and practice. This paper by Rev Al Barrett, a church leader working in Birmingham, explores those resonances and the ways in which this approach can be a vital, life-giving tool for local churches as they join in the mission of God in their local contexts – engaging and supporting their communities, tackling poverty and injustice, and helping to grow resilient and inclusive neighbourhoods where all are able to participate and flourish. Tackling Poverty in England: an asset-based approach This paper introduces the concept of asset-based community development (ABCD) - a particular approach to development that uses the skills and capacities of local people to build stronger, more sustainable communities. In this paper we examine the key principles for ABCD and explore how this approach can be used by churches to bring about significant transformation in deprived communities. This paper is offered as a resource to support and encourage churches as they think about how to engage with and bring about change in their local communities. Hungry for More: How churches can address the root causes of food poverty The extraordinarily high number of people turning to food banks to make ends meet has brought a great deal of media and policy attention to the issue of food poverty. This report reflects on church-based responses to the issue of food poverty, looking in particular at the nature of those responses. Using survey responses, it explores the degree to which churches are supporting people in crisis situations, when they are unable to buy food, or helping to tackle the underlying causes of those crises and so contributing to a long-term solution to food poverty. Click here to read the Executive Summary. Click here to download the full report. National and Diocesan Poverty Statistics This reference paper aggregates Church of England parish data to provide national and diocesan-level poverty statistics. It provides a number of summary charts and tables to make data available for those conducting their own research or planning future work. Our hope is that these statistics will help to further inform diocesan offices and churches about the contexts in which they work and the particular issues faced by their local and regional communities. Poverty in Numbers 2013 CUF has developed an online tool that provides information on a range of poverty-related indicators at the parish level. Entering your postcode in to this tool allows you to see where your parish ranks, nationally or within the diocese, on ten different indicators including child poverty, pensioner poverty and life expectancy. This short paper is a summary of the key findings from the updated tool. The Human Cost of Welfare Reform This study looks beyond the financial impact of welfare reforms to the broader impact that they are having on people’s everyday lives, and considers how churches can best support those affected. This paper explores the key findings from interviews with 10 organisations and suggests some potential activities that churches might undertake to support three groups affected by particular reforms. This paper is the third and final report in a mini-series about welfare reform. Click here to download the Executive Summary. Click here to read the full report. It all adds up: the cumulative impact of welfare reform Over the last three years, the Coalition Government has announced a range of welfare reforms. By telling the story of two hypothetical households, this paper explores the cumulative impact of welfare reforms on household finances. This paper is the second of three to be published by CUF and the Church of England on welfare reform. Guide to Welfare Reforms 2010-2017 Since coming to power in 2010, the coalition government has undertaken a radical reform of our welfare system. Available to download here is a short guide to the most significant changes made over recent years, many of which will come into effect in April 2013. This paper is the first of three to be published by CUF and the Church of England on welfare reform. CUF’s Response to the Child Poverty Measurement Consultation We support the use of a range of indicators to measure the different dimensions of child poverty, only where these are not aggregated into an index and where they complement the four income-based measures set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010. We have serious concerns about the lack of effective transparency inevitable in any composite index, even where the underlying indicators that would comprise such a composite index are published separately. The Church In Action: A national survey of church-led social action The aim of this short paper is to quantify the scale of Anglican church-led social action in England, to explore the types of activities that parishes run and to identify the social needs they help to address. Our findings show that, as the recession continues to bite, many churches around the country are actively addressing the social needs they see around them.