Anglican diocese to invest in West Midlands community initiatives

By staff writers
October 15, 2007

The Anglican Diocese of Lichfield has celebrated its successful ten-year relationship with the West Bromwich Building Society by announcing that it will donate £100,000 to a variety of community initiatives in the West Midlands area over the next ten months.

Ten donations of £10,000 each will be distributed each month, and the first has already taken place as a community service for older people within the Wolverhampton area received the cash boost from the West Brom's Group Commercial Director Roger Smith.

The partnership between the West Bromwich Building Society and the Diocese of Lichfield began in 1997 when the then-Bishop, the Rt Revd Keith Sutton, asked local businesses to support the work of the Church Urban Fund (CUF).

CUF was established to secure church investment in poor communities in the wake of the 1985 'Faith in the City' report.

The building society responded by establishing a Community Savings Account where individual investors could save their money with the West Brom and in return the building society made an annual donation equivalent to one per cent of the average balance.

Initially this went to support local community groups and charitable causes through the Church Urban Fund. Following the success of the scheme the Diocese of Lichfield established the Mercian Trust three years ago to extend the scope of the scheme outside the Diocesan area and to ensure that rural as well as urban communities benefited.

The Mercian Trust works with the West Brom to tackle issues such as social exclusion, isolation, poverty and other forms of disadvantage.

The current Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, commented: “I’d like to offer my congratulations on the ten-year partnership between the West Bromwich Building Society and the Diocese of Lichfield. Ten years of making the community fund work has been a tremendous achievement."

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