Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Although this year has brought a lot of turmoil throughout England and beyond, we’re counting the blessings that have been brought to communities and lives across England thanks to all our supporters and partners. So, below are some of our highlights from the last twelve months; we hope they bring some cheer to you as we enter this Christmas and New Year period. 1. We provided more than 11,000 meals for school children The summer holidays can be a difficult time for a lot of families as free school meals no longer being available coupled with the need to find childcare can cause household budgets to be strained. The Together Network stepped in to reduce the strain by providing free and engaging childcare as well as more than 11,000 lunch meals. 2. We worked to create a financial system that is fair for all This summer was a busy one as we launched the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mustard Seed Appeal to raise money to grow the work of the Just Finance Foundation as it works to create a financial system that is fair for all. Great work has already started to help those with money problems across the country and funds have been raised to extend the work further. We look forward to sharing more details with you throughout 2017! 3. We made 4,000 bed spaces available for the homeless This winter Church Urban Fund's Together Network will provide as many as 4,000 bed spaces for those struggling with homelessness. This is thanks to volunteers who are selflessly giving up their time and churches that are providing access to their buildings. These night shelters are bringing hope into countless lives this winter. 4. We opened a new grants fund In November we were able to announce the launch of the Common Good Fund. This new fund offers grants of up to £5,000 to communities who want to bring people together after what has been a divisive year in many parts of the country. 5. We shared our impact from 2015 As you'll see below, we got a new look at CUF this year and, as part of that, we published an Impact Report for 2015 which showed us that our three branches of work: the Together Network, Near Neighbours, and the Just Finance Foundation, have been making a huge difference to lives and communities across England. 6. More people sleepout out for the homeless After 2015 saw 75 events and £93,000 raised, the Advent Sleepout Challenge 2016 has seen 92 events happen across the country. We’re looking forward to sharing the total amount raised with you in January! 7. The New Look CUF This year was a big one for us as we worked on creating a new look for Church Urban Fund; one that would reflect the light of Christ that we know shines through England’s communities. This process also meant creating this new – award winning – website (there’s us collecting our award) So once again, thank you for the part you’ve played in this year; because of what you’ve contributed, lives across England have been transformed and the light of Christ has reached even further into our communities. Keep an eye out for what we’ve got in store for an action packed 2017. (You can get a sneak peek by checking out the Big Pancake Party and our Lent Course.) So from everyone at Church Urban Fund, we are wishing you a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!