Lifted is the name for Church Wigan's Social Justice Ministries. Governance support is provided by Wigan Deanery Trust. It includes our Food Pantries, Pop-Up Pantries, Warm/Welcome Spaces, CAP Debt Centre and Celebrate Recovery. This is led by the 'Lifted Leadership Team' which includes Revd. Catherine Cosslett, our Pantry Leads and Christiane Cook our CAP Debt Centre Manager. We work alongside partners including Wigan Council, The Brick, Fur Clemt and Unify Credit Union to support this vital work.
Wigan Deanery Trust are providing the infrastructure and systems to implement and manage the project. Churches have recruited volunteers to run the pantries and Wigan Borough Council will promote the service. Fur Clempt is providing intercepted food and we are also partnering with other charities to help provide food that would end up in landfills. The Food Pantry Network will provide access to food offering value for money.
We have been able to run these using only the ‘Pay As You Feel’ donations, larger one-off individual donations and a grant from Together Liverpool and Feeding Britain, which covered the start-up costs of some of our pantries. As our network expands, the budget needs to increase to ensure that each pantry is adequately stocked.
The pantries operate in existing local community facilities and are offered on a “no questions asked” basis, to lower access barriers. They deliver a common outcome across the partners - relieving food poverty. The partnership provides access to funding, product and volunteer resources that would not be available to individual organisations.
Our CAP debt centre supports individuals and families whose finances are adversely affected during the current cost of living crisis. This includes a fully trained paid debt centre manager working with a trained team of volunteers to support service users.
Wigan Borough Council (WBC) will make referrals to the service and Wigan churches will provide the volunteers necessary and premises from which advice can be offered.
Helping people manage debt is a common outcome sought by churches as part of their “common good” agenda, as well as being a public sector priority. Independence from the public sector helps improve access, particularly to those worried about debt to government agencies.
Wigan Deanery Trust has robust internal systems in place to ensure that both projects are governed and financially managed well, built on existing funding relationships with the Diocese of Liverpool.