The Bishop of Guildford’s Communities Fund (BGCF) exists to reach out to disadvantaged and vulnerable people across the Diocese of Guildford in the name of Christ.
Grants are offered to projects initiated by Church of England churches (and those in active partnership with them) to assist in fulfilling any aspect of the Diocesan vision, Transforming Church, Transforming Lives.
The BGCF gives grants to a range of community projects including those which:
- Support people with disabilities and mental ill-health
- Provide facilities and services for older citizens, children and young people
- Support families and disadvantaged communities
- Provide practical help for the financially challenged
- Offer training and skills programmes
Please support Bishop Andrew’s appeal for those impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and Covid pandemic
The last few years have been a very challenging time for many in our communities, faced as they are with the continuing impact of the cost-of-living crisis and the psychological scarring of the Covid pandemic. In my weekly travels around the Diocese, I have been impressed time and again by the many ways in which our churches and schools have been looking to respond – but have also noticed an increasing gap between the needs of the communities and the ability of churches to respond to them. Both finances and volunteers can end up stretched very thinly indeed.
The Bishop of Guildford’s Communities Fund is there to help bridge that gap, providing grants to support parishes and other church-linked organisations to reach out into the most challenged parts of our communities with the love of Christ. Last year we made six grants totalling £21,000 to different projects throughout the diocese, some of them featured below. We would have been able to do considerably more, had a greater sum been raised through the Lent Appeal and elsewhere, and we would love to be able to increase our donations in 2024.
The BGCF is run entirely by willing volunteers, so its running costs are negligible. Please could I encourage each one of us to consider making a one-off gift this Lent, and parishes to take a special collection for the BGCF at some point during this season?
Donations can also be made by card, electronically to The Bishop of Guildford's Communities Fund or BGCF, sort code 30-98-97, account number: 68771768 or by cheque sent to Willow Grange, Woking Road, Guildford, Surrey GU4 7QS
To donate now, please click the orange button below.
You can help to fundraise for the BGCF at any time of year. Here are some practical ideas and resources to help.
Look for an opportunity to publicise the Fund's work and invite support. Most people in the diocese don't know what the Fund does, and the best way to get the message across is face-to-face. You could ask for a slot of time in a PCC meeting, or speak to local house groups. Or you could prepare an article for the parish magazine. We can supply posters and leaflets in printed form (email firstname.lastname@example.org) or as PDFs. If your church uses an AV system, you can download PowerPoint slides too.
Could you organise an event for us? This could be a sponsored event, such as a walk round the parish boundaries or a coffee morning. Contact us if you need more information or any leaflets or posters.
The Bishop's annual Lent Appeal has also supported the Fund since it began. Lent is a time for thinking about those who are less fortunate than ourselves. It is a time for self-sacrifice, and for extra generosity. Could you make a personal donation, or ask your parish to make it the Appeal the focus of their Lent giving?
Remember us in your will, and ensure your generosity will have an impact on the lives of others. Contact us for more details.
Or simply make a donation to the Bishop of Guildford's Communities Fund. Your contribution will go towards projects helping those in need and making communities stronger, in Surrey and North East Hampshire. Please see the Donate to the Fund page on this site, where you will find a standing order form and a Gift Aid declaration form.
Supporting mission in the Diocese of Guildford
The special link the Bishop of Guildford's Communities Fund has with diocesan mission is expressed in the collection taken at each Confirmation or Licensing Service, which is given to the Fund's work.
Half the monies raised by the Bishop's Lent Challenge each year are also given to BGCF. In addition, local fundraising activities and events bring in extra funds and many individuals support the Fund generously.
The Bishop of Guildford’s Communities Fund is the working name of the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation which is a charitable incorporated organisation (registered charity no 1017385) . Registered address: Willow Grange, Woking Road, Guildford, Surrey GU4 7QS. Its trustees are:
Bishop Andrew is the Chair of the BGCF, having previously been a trustee of charities in the fields of housing, domestic violence, church growth and overseas development. He writes “I am very aware of real deprivation across the diocese in these challenging times and know that Parishes are well placed to help. I am delighted that The Bishop of Guildford’s Communities Fund exists to give parishes a helping hand, both with start-up grants and ongoing support for work in their localities and I would strongly encourage them to approach us if they have a suitable project”.
Andrew's business career has been in financial services, the public sector and in IT services. He is a chartered accountant. For Andrew, "The BGCF is one expression of our Diocesan vision to transform church and transform lives. We help churches and their partners start projects that reach out to have a real impact on their local communities. Let us know how we can support you."
Louise was appointed Secretary to the BGCF in 2020 and is likely to be your first point of contact if you are considering applying to the Fund. With a background in operations and project management she has wide experience in delivering change in the community, particularly at parish level. Louise says “Do get in touch via the website to discuss your project, I love to hear about innovative ways our church families are able to serve our communities”.
Mike was formerly Deputy Diocesan Secretary, he has extensive experience of charity law, financial governance and operational knowledge to contribute to the process of reviewing applications and managing the Fund. Mike says “Having seen BGCF evolve since its inception in 1993, I welcome the current focus on parish projects within the diocese. The trustees would welcome new applications based on community needs.”
Debs became a trustee in 2019. Debs has worked within communities across Surrey for over 20 years, focussing on partnership working from the voluntary, community, faith, private and public sectors. Debs says “I have a real passion, heart, and commitment towards ensuring that local people of all ages have opportunities to reach their potential and to thrive. The BGCF has contributed to so many great local projects, making a real impact in people's lives, it is a privilege to be part of the decision-making process”.
Claire serves in the Diocese of Guildford as Assistant Archdeacon, previously she was the Associate Minister of St Paul’s, Camberley, and was appointed trustee in 2020. Claire says “It has been a real pleasure to be part of something that helps enable local churches in the diocese to engage with their communities in such inspiring ways. I am particularly encouraged by the prayerful approach to decision making that trustees adopt when considering applications for grants. I also love hearing back from projects about the difference our grant has made to their work in the communities where they are rooted”.
Richard spent his professional life working in the communications industry and latterly was part of the Comms Team at the Diocese of Guildford. In retirement he now applies his skills to help a number of charities and not-for-profit organisations. He has been a trustee in 2017 and is also a churchwarden. Richard says “Working for BGCF, it has been a re eye-opener to discover the pockets of poverty and deprivation which exist in our apparently prosperous diocese. It is a real privilege to be able to highlight the work of the Fund and the initiatives of our parishes to help those in need.”
Ebert joined the BGCF in 2022 following a career in delivering business transformation programmes around the world, as programme director for a charity supporting young people, and as programme manager at the Diocese of Guildford until end 2021. This role included church planting and parish-based health and viability projects. Ebert says “I enjoy being part of this team and the decision-making process. I am excited by the potential to build on the many success stories and make an even bigger impact on people’s lives in our local communities.”
To contact us please email: email@example.com or write us at Willow Grange, Woking Road, Guildford, Surrey GU4 7QS.
Please be aware that as a small charity we employ no staff and rely on volunteers who will respond as soon as they can.