The Institute for Community Studies is delighted to be working with the Church Urban Fund (CUF) to develop a Group Theory of Change that draws together the work of Near Neighbours, the Together Network, and the Just Finance Foundation. It will combine real-life stories, voices and experiences with data and facts, to ensure an approach that is shaped by programme delivery staff and clients as much as by CUF trustees and funders.

Critically, this project will define the distinctive value of CUF and lay the foundations for a What Works Centre for faith-based social action, addressing issues of poverty, social confidence, and CUF’s three aims to ‘Speak, Serve and Lead’. CUF Chief Executive Rachel Whittington says:

“There are all kinds of reasons why CUF is needed at a moment like this: increasing need, social fragmentation, unwavering support from stakeholders within and beyond the Church of England, and the swathes of community leaders and volunteers who are worn down from the pandemic and cost of living crisis – and who need all the support they can get. But, in and of themselves, they offer a functional answer to the question of ‘why CUF?’. Our ‘why’ is fundamentally theological and makes us a distinctive contributor to the landscape of social justice in England. However, clearly connecting our ’why’ to our ‘what and how’ is essential so we can confidently communicate CUF’s distinct, tangible contribution to civil society and ensure all we do harnesses the power of relational working, lived experience and the social capital embedded across the parish system. We are thrilled to be working with Institute for Community Studies on this important project due to their intricate understanding of CUF, deep commitment to community engagement and the diverse skills that exist across their team.”

Welcoming the start of this new project, our Associate Director Richard Harries, concludes:

“Faith is a huge motivator for effective community-based social action and CUF has been at the centre of this for over 30 years. This partnership aligns the Institute with an organisation committed to tackling inequality and supporting people in UK communities of all faiths and circumstances. We hope our work to develop a Group Theory of Change will mark the first stage in CUF’s broader ambition to understand ‘what works’ in the field of hyperlocal faith-based social action.”

Institute for Community Studies Posted on: 25 October 2022

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