#LoveYourNeighbour is a nationally scaled and locally based church-led response to the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last four months, we have grown into an alliance of over 1,250 churches and charities working at depth together on the frontline of local communities and offering practical support to the vulnerable such as the delivery of over two million meals to people in need so far.
With partners representing various Pentecostal networks, to the Salvation Army, the Coptic Orthodox church, the Baptists, the Church of England and many others, we are an alliance who have come together to serve the nation under one unified banner and with one key message and purpose – to feed the hungry and serve the poor.
Convened by the Church Revitalisation Trust (CRT), #LoveYourNeighbour equips churches with start-up funding and training to establish emergency food hubs offering food and hygiene deliveries to the isolated; money and debt advice and employment training to help people back on their feet; and ongoing personal friendship and practical support through our phone-a-friend and other volunteer initiatives.
We believe this is a vital moment for the Church to step up in response to the widening gap of unmet needs exacerbated by the crisis. We are therefore thrilled to have been invited to apply for a match funding opportunity through the government in what could be a truly historic moment, marking an unprecedented collaboration between the Church and the UK Government to provide COVID-19 relief in England.
Through this application and with your support we hope to double the impact that #LoveYourNeighbour is having, delivering an additional 13 million meals to those most in need and to providing support with money and debt advice as well as employment training to over 67,000 people over the next 18 months.
#LoveYourNeighbour has grown into a network of 62 city and town Hubs and ecosystems across England, which are working with 1250 churches and other civil society organisations. Our aim is to provide not just a “hand out” but a “hand up” so that people are equipped to overcome the financial and other social challenges they face. The Hubs therefore work locally with vulnerable groups to meet three essential needs:
Crisis food provision
Money and debt advice
Employment support and training
How Can I Support the Project?
A number of churches across the country are pledging to raise over £10 million in funds which we hope will be doubled by the Government. However, many of these churches are in highly economically deprived areas and would hugely benefit from gifts which can be used as part of their pledge. We would love to invite you to partner with us in helping to raise this funding and to help us expand this national service as a sign that the church is alive and changing lives in the UK. To find out more, please get in touch by emailing Stewardship or telephone 020 8418 8896. Alternatively, please email Maddie Kalta at #LoveYourNeighbour.
Case Study: The Whitehawk Estate
Launched in 2014 as a plant from St Peter’s Brighton, St Cuthman’s is a church on the Whitehawk Estate. Ranked as the 63rd most deprived parish in the country, the church serves a community with predominantly social housing, high levels of unemployment and single parent families. During the pandemic, the needs have increased dramatically, and the number of individuals helped through the St Cuthman’s Foodbank has more than doubled. Through the #LoveYourNeighbour campaign and as more foodbanks and charities are forced to close across the city, the team are determined to reach those in desperate need.
Sean, a #LoveYourNeighbour volunteer, shares the story of a new mum without food, gas or electric:
We had a referral about a woman who had been in contact with several churches but received no reply as offices were closed. I was able to get in touch with her and it transpired that she needed some nappies for her six-month old. She was also nearly out of gas and electric - she had a family with two young children and a baby. We were not only able to supply her with nappies but also give her £20 for the gas and electric, as well as giving her food shopping. The woman was in tears - this is one of many the stories we get each day of desperate situations.