Extent of Church of England work to support local communities revealed


Thousands of churches now run or support foodbanks, giving food parcels to hundreds of people every week, new figures show.

The Church of England said 8,000 churches – 60% of the total – now offer donations or provide venues.

Foodbanks have become the biggest area of churches’ work, data from 13,000 churches revealed.

One project hosted by the Church of England is Micah Liverpool, the social justice charity based at Liverpool Cathedral.

It runs a foodbank from St Bride’s church on Thursdays and a community market on Mondays in St Michael in the City church providing a free hot lunch and selling surplus food from supermarkets at low cost.

Paul O’Brien, executive director of Micah Liverpool, said: “The food bank at St Bride’s is one of the biggest food bank pantries in the North West – we fed 218 people in the space of two hours on Thursday.

“On average we feed around 220 people a week through food parcels.”

Other activities run or supported by churches include parent and toddler groups, breakfast and lunch clubs and community cafes.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “From food banks to debt counselling and lunch clubs to language classes, these figures spell out for the first time the sheer scale and range of our churches’ commitment to their communities.

“We are doing more to love and help people in need than at any time since 1945.”