What we do Our impact Our Impact There are millions of people throughout England who wish to reach out and help others. Our role is to channel their positive energy, providing inspiration, resources and support networks to assist them in making a tangible impact. The Together Network Together Network Development Workers work closely with churches and other organisations who are seeking to start or develop their own community activities. They help churches to understand the contexts in which they are based and to develop a vision and strategy for community engagement, as well as providing advice and support with the design of projects, reviewing governance structures, hiring staff, training volunteers and accessing funding. During 2016 the Together Network supported more than 555 projects and activities in response to issues including homelessness, food poverty, financial exclusion and debt, refugees and asylum seekers, and loneliness and isolation. 57% of these were new projects and activities and more than half were partnership projects involving two or more participating churches or organisations. These partnerships help people to avoid duplication and to learn from others’ experience; they also encourage innovation by bringing new partners together for the first time. Last year Together Network members delivered over 337 training sessions, workshops and events during 2016, attended by over 11,000 people. Training and events are important vehicles through which the Network acts to effect change: these not only provide opportunities to share ideas and expertise, but also to build relationships and mutual support. The Together Network, in 2016, supported other organisations with 126 funding applications during 2016, helping to secure £1,016,233 for community and social action initiatives. Near Neighbours The Near Neighbours small grants programme has now awarded over £4.7 million in grants, reaching over one million people across the country. A clear distinctive feature of Near Neighbours is the range of activity that is funded, including community gardening, football clubs, multi-faith work with homeless people, women’s group, World War One commemorations, interfaith open days, museum exhibitions, leadership programmes and much more. Over 300 young people have participated in our Catalyst Programme which is a leadership programme that aims to build relationships that help individuals transform their communities for the better. Together Grants The Together Grants programme provides small grants for faith-based organisations to engage in social action. In 2016, we awarded £290,000 to 91 projects, with an average grant of £3,200. Projects supported ranged from providing employability support and training, running after-school homework and holiday clubs, hosting winter night shelters, delivering advice and advocacy, encouraging the expansion of credit unions, helping to create a welcoming environment for refugees and asylum seekers, and opening up community spaces to bring local people together. The Together Grants programme encourages partnership between organisations, because working together can increase capacity and lead to wider engagement with projects. There are plenty of examples of ecumenical social action, with 53% of partnerships being between churches of different denominations. 38% of partnerships were with local government. The majority of projects involved the local community, with 69% having local people as volunteers. Just Finance Foundation The JFF aims to create a fairer financial system where everyone has access to responsible credit, savings and other essential financial services. We are now delivering this programme through 4 of the Together Network Joint Ventures. Just Finance Network The Just Finance Network (JFN) helps local churches to engage practically and effectively with issues of money, debt and credit in their communities. Over three years the JFN has engaged over 400 churches and trained over 350 volunteers to signpost to credit, free debt advice and money skills courses. So far, JFN has helped more than 3500 people join their local credit union. LifeSavers LifeSavers is a financial education programme for primary schools, helping children manage money wisely now and in the future. So far 70 schools are involved in the programme across 5 areas. 450 teachers have received training to deliver financial education to over 4,000 pupils.