Strategic Programmes form a key part of the work of the Strategic Development team. In order to respond to places within the Diocese where the make-up of a parish is changing significantly, the team works to support parishes in continuing to provide for ministry and pastoral care of all who live there.
Typically working in places where new developments exceed 1000 new homes, or in places of substantial business development, each project shares an overall structure and method, while creating a contextually-appropriate response to change.
A new church for Hale Village.
Wood Wharf extension to the financial district.
Reviewing existing church provision to serve new neighbourhoods.
Building the visible presence of existing parishes.
Meeting the needs of a busy station and new community.
Serving five new neighbourhoods with Chelmsford Diocese.
The team works both at a parish level, providing extra capacity to conduct local surveys and assess the needs of the community, but also in interactions with councils and developers, to negotiate long-term solutions for the good of the community.
Our first programme is in Tottenham Hale, the first new church in the Diocese for 40 years, and provides a good blueprint to illustrate the work of the team.
During the scoping phase, the team researches the planned proposals, gathering information from developers and councils about the nature of the changes. Then working at a local level, social and community audits detail existing parish provision, listen to local residents about their experiences living in the area, and draw out key social concerns which should be addressed. After getting an accurate picture of the area, reports and stakeholder meetings help people to become more aware of the neighbourhood now and how its social needs are going to be changing.
The nearby parishes begin to imagine how they might respond to change. After generating a range of available options, churches are guided through an evaluation process which helps to draw out which factors are important to the groups concerned. This helps create reasoned decisions that can be made with clarity, and guide people with diverse opinions towards a shared and locally-owned vision.
The practicalities of how the vision becomes reality are worked out. For example, in Tottenham Hale, this meant defining job descriptions for community workers, deciding on building requirements, making a business plan for a nursery and looking at finances. At this stage, other LDF departments may be drawn in to help; HR, property, schools and finance colleagues begin to work on the programme as well.
Each programme now looks very different, according to the decisions made at the visioning stage. Often the operation stage coincides with properties on the development beginning to be occupied, and may involve community workers beginning activities to build relationships with new residents. Behind the scenes, new church or community buildings may be at design or build phase, and fundraising activities start to take place in earnest.
It is important for the Strategic Development department to maintain thorough reporting to the relevant governance bodies for each individual programme area. This include the establishment for each area a local Steering Group which includes the clergy from parishes most greatly impacted by the developmental change, the Area Dean and either an Archdeacon or Bishop from the Episcopal area. The role of the group is to represent the local voice and discern the vision that the Strategic Team will develop. The governance also includes the Strategic Development Committee (SDC) with additional reporting to other Diocesan governance bodies as each programme demands; these include Diocesan Bishops Council (DBC) and Diocesan Finance Committee (DFC).
Strategic Development Map
The Strategic Development map is a tool developed by the Diocese of London and Groundwork, which brings together data from local, regional and national bodies, building a unique picture of development led change within the Diocese. You can view the map to plot census information, planning permissions, housing development plans within parish and London borough boundaries.