£1.5m show of faith in projects

Rev Peter Lillicrap is joined by Rev Hannah Boyd on a recent litter picking initiative at Grange Park
Rev Peter Lillicrap is joined by Rev Hannah Boyd on a recent litter picking initiative at Grange Park
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Two urban ministry projects based in Blackpool are to share in a £1.54m cash injection by the Church of England into deprived areas.

The schemes, based at Grange Park and Mereside, are among three in Lancashire to benefit from a national funding drive worth £24.4m in total.

Rev Linda Tomkinson from Freedom Church, Mereside, with Josh Harrison and Lizzie Haydon - two of the voluntary workers who are now in the first year of the Blackpool Ministry Experience element of the programme

Rev Linda Tomkinson from Freedom Church, Mereside, with Josh Harrison and Lizzie Haydon - two of the voluntary workers who are now in the first year of the Blackpool Ministry Experience element of the programme

Working with the churches of St Mark’s, Layton and St Luke’s, Staining, a lead evangelist and a pioneer evangelist, based at Grange Park Church Army Centre of Mission will be funded to continue work already under way by clergy and congregation on the estate.

A network will also be set up across Blackpool to help parishes support each other in mission and evangelism.

The award will also fund 20 young adults to take part in the ‘Blackpool Ministry Experience’ over the next six years.

They will live on the Mereside Estate in Blackpool and work with Freedom Church on Mereside alongside residents, as well as in nearby deprived urban parishes in Blackpool.

Rev Peter Lillicrap from St Mark’s and St Luke’s said: “In our parish we are looking forward to the prospect of continuing our growing work on the Grange Park estate.

“This is an amazing step of faith by the church commissioners as we seek to take the good news of the Gospel to a neglected part of this large parish.

“Eventually we hope a church will be planted back onto the estate.”

Rev Linda Tomkinson, from the Freedom Church, Mereside, added: “The aim of the Blackpool Ministry Experience is to give three young people each year a chance to explore their vocation, whether to lay or ordained ministry, through placements, theological study and reflection.”

The Church of England’s Strategic Investment Board has agreed to make the awards for Lancashire and elsewhere in the Church of England as part of the Church’s Renewal and Reform programme.

The third Lancashire project is based in Darwen, near Blackburn.

Dave Champness, vision co-ordinator for the Diocese of Blackburn, who put the bid together, said; “We have three very different, yet linked projects, to be resourced by enthusiastic individuals whose activities should have a lasting impact on the faith of those living in our more financially deprived communities, not only in Blackpool and Blackburn, but across the diocese and beyond.”