2.1 Community Engagement
Many churches will wish to develop a building that engages more effectively with their local community. In days gone by the church building was often the hub of society. Can those days return?
To do this effectively and in order to show many funding partners the needs of your community, you will need to do a variety of things at an early stage. Here are some ideas:
- Ask the congregation to carry out a door to door community survey (get a questionnaire template in Word format from the Downloads section, together with instruction sheet for canvassers). A survey like this will engage your church in the process of understanding what people need help with.
- Have a public meeting and leaflet the area to inform them of the event
- Bring together several local focus groups for an evening
- Check out the ‘social atlas’ in your area on line. This gives you a lot of data about issues such as income, one parent families, demographics of the area, access to health services, child care etc… Click here for an example of a ‘social atlas’ for Milton Keynes. A new project has just been launched for London, called Londonmapper, which presents a great deal of information on inequality, poverty and social trends across the capital.
Your local Council will also have similar data
- Run community events and get feedback
- From your current community activities survey those that come along.
- Arrange to meet and ask social services, schools, local health professionals, the Police, local Councillors and your MP
- Draw up an influence/stakeholder map with 3 circles (refer to the Downloads section for a sample pdf)
- Bring all this data together graphically and in a report and feedback to the church on your findings. Ask the question: ‘What sort of building do we need to serve our local community?‘ You will need to draw on this again in the future.