Research Reports

Building financial inclusion in our communities

Access to financial services is essential in our society. However, a significant number of people lack access to even the most basic financial products.

Financial inclusion can be built in three ways: ensuring people have a secure, minimum income; increasing access to financial services; and providing financial advice and education.

This paper explores these three themes and shares case studies of the exciting and innovative work churches are doing around the country to create a more financially inclusive society.



Together Network Impact Report

At the heart of our work is the Together Network - a network of Joint Ventures between CUF and individual dioceses, operating around the country.

This report, bringing together an evaluation by the Charities Evaluation Services and our own monitoring, gives a snapshot of the work undertaken by the Together Network between January 2013 and June 2014. It explains the type of activities being carried out and the impact of those activities. This report shows that the Network is supporting a significant number of churches and organisations, helping them to unlock financial, physical and human resources to tackle poverty and transform lives.



Listen Up! Connecting churches and communities through listening

Listening is a crucial first step for any activity that seeks to tackle poverty. It is important for challenging preconceptions and breaking down power dynamics between ‘helper’ and ‘helped’, creating spaces in which friendship and honesty can grow.

This report tells the story of one church that undertook a listening exercise to inform and shape their work in the community. We hope that it will be a useful and practical resource for other churches seeking to listen to, connect with and support people in their communities.

Read the full report here.

Read the executive summary here.



Good Neighbours: How churches help communities flourish

In this new piece of research, CUF and Theos set out to understand the impact of local churches in deprived communities in England. We sought to explore what churches do to support people in their communities, and also how and why they do it.

This research project is a ‘critical appreciation’ of what churches offer their communities – it argues that church-based activities offer both breadth of national reach and depth, as they reach approximately 10 million people a year. Churches reach people in a uniquely relational way, building platforms for neighbourliness and relationships to grow.

Click here to download the Executive Summary.

Click here to read the full report.


Web of Poverty

Definitions matter. The way in which we choose to define a problem influences the solution we offer and therefore shapes our engagement with the world around us. For example, if definitions of poverty focus exclusively on a lack of income, we may come to believe that the solution is simply to give people more money.

This Web of Poverty paper sets out CUF’s understanding of poverty. It also explains our approach to tackling poverty and how, through our Together Network, we seek to transform the lives of the poorest and most marginalised in England. 

There is a strong relationship between the different aspects of poverty. For a more detailed exploration of the data that sits behind this Web of Poverty, download the presentation available here.



Engagement with the Credit Union Sector

Credit Unions have been proposed as a potential solution to the problem of financial exclusion and payday lending by the Department for Work and Pensions (2012) and the Archbishop of Canterbury (2013).

Consequently, CUF conducted a survey to deepen our understanding of current engagement with this sector; to identify barriers to engagement that will need to be overcome if credit unions are to grow.

This presentation shares the main results of that survey.

The full dataset is also available to download. If you use this data set in support of other research, please cite 'Engagement with the Credit Union Sector, CUF and Ipsos MORI, February 2014'.

Download the full dataset.


Money Speaks Louder than Words

The Church of England is well-placed to make a powerful and effective contribution to the growth of the credit union sector. If a substantial proportion of the 1.7 million regular church attendees were to join a credit union – investing some of their savings or taking out small loans - the sector could well achieve its goal of growing from one to two million members. 

The report makes recommendations about the steps that need to be taken to significantly increase membership of credit unions amongst churchgoers. These recommendations will help to encourage churchgoers to become more active supporters of credit unions, by deepening their knowledge and understanding of the sector and its value. 

Click here to download the Executive Summary.

Click here to read the full report.




CUF’s Response to religion and belief consultation

CUF has submitted a response to the consultation run by the Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life, with the help of members of our Together Network.

We eagerly await the outcome of this consultation.

Please download and read our response and let us know what you think. 



CUF’s Response to Credit Union Consultation

CUF has submitted a response to the government's call for evidence, seeking views from credit unions, the private sector and wider society on what the credit union sector should look like in the future.

This response was submitted on 1 September 2014 and we eagerly await the outcome of this call for evidence.