To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, with reference to their decision to award the Diocese of Leeds £3,094,588 of Strategic Development Funding (SDF), and figure 10 of the Independent Review of Lowest Income Communities funding and Strategic Development Funding by Sir Robert Chote and others, how many of the (a) anticipated and (b) recorded numbers of new disciples came from the project Strengthening Mission Across the City of Leeds between 2017 and 2021.
8 July 2022
The Church Commissioners do not award funding to specific dioceses; this is the role of the Archbishops' Council, as delegated to the Strategic Investment Board.
The Independent Review notes on page 27 para 3.32, beneath Figure 10, that "the Strategy and Development Unit do not regard the estimates of new disciples witnessed and expected for individual projects that underpin the aggregates as a robust basis to compare their actual and expected performance, which of course suggests that one should be wary of combining them into an aggregate figure."
The figure used in the report is 175 new disciples out of an anticipated 1125 by 2024, but is based on older data. More up-to-date figures from the end of 2020 show that the project as a whole is ahead of its interim goals for attendance by the end of 2021, and early data shows further growth into 2022. As with all churches, the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still to be worked out. The Chote Review of Lowest Income Communities funding and Strategic Development Funding can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2022-03/IRLS%20-%20final%20report%20%282%29.pdf