Stories About Our Work

What type of projects do we support?

Our key focus is to raise funds to support faith-linked projects and groups within the area of the Diocese of Guildford; projects that address needs at a local level and are committed to their local communities. Here are a few examples of projects we have recently been able to help, but for the latest news please visit the BGF Facebook page.

Cellar Café, Godalming

BGF Cellar CaféThis café in Godalming, which provides a secure, affordable and friendly place for vulnerable people in the community to meet and discuss problems among themselves or with staff, has received a £3,000 grant from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation. The grant will help cover the cost of staff salaries and running costs. The Cellar opens its arms to those with mental health or learning difficulties, drug or alcohol problems, and those who are lonely, isolated, living under stress, or have suffered breakdowns or illness. The staff team has close contact with social services, Rethink, the Meath Epilepsy Trust, the CAB, local GP practices, churches and schools for pupils with autism or learning difficulties. Jeremy Hunt MP for South West Surrey visited The Cellar Café (see photo) to talk to trustees and customers. He said he was: ”Very impressed by the support The Cellar gives to vulnerable people in the community”.


Bookham Baptists’ Children’s Centre

BGF Bookham ChildrenBookham Baptists’ Chilidrens’ Centre has been given a grant of £1,000 by the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation to help support the running of a range of services and support groups for families and children in the local community. Following funding cuts, resources have now been concentrated in Leatherhead, leaving Bookham with  just one ‘Stay and Play’ session one morning a week. Many families are unable to travel to Leatherhead to benefit from the other services there  because they do not have access to a car and the bus service is poor, so Bookham Baptist Church have decided to go it alone and raise the funds to run family support services for the community. The Revd Rob Stevens, Baptist minister in Bookham says: “Research shows that Bookham is an area of priority need for children’s services and parents often have difficulty finding employment. We are very grateful to the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation for their support in getting this exciting new project off the ground.”


Jolly John’s Breakfast Club

BGF Breakfast Club

Bishop Andrew visited the breakfast club at St John's CofE Primary School in Dorking recently. The Club was started by the school four years ago, with support from the Bishop of Guildford's Foundation, to provide a good healthy breakfast for those children who want it and to help those parents who find themselves under pressure in the morning. The club has had a significant positive impact on those children using the club in terms of attendance, punctuality, concentration and behaviour in class.


Supporting a children’s club in Ewell

 The Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation has made a grant of £3,000 towards the annual running costs of the Ark Tuesday Club which is based at the Edge Youth Centre in Ewell. The club provides a wide range of play and creative opportunities in a safe environment for children aged 5-11 from the Watersedge estate, which is ranked as the ninth most deprived area in Surrey. The Club is run by the Ewell Christian Fellowship Trust, which operates under the name of Generation Church. Sally Newman, one of the leaders of the club explains: “Opportunities for after-school activities in this area are limited and we hope to further both the physical and social development of the children by providing sport and creative activities at minimum cost to local families. We also train junior leaders (aged 11-16) to provide experience of working with younger children and to develop leadership and other skills.”

Family worker in Bordon

£3,000 has been granted to continue the provision of a family support worker at St Mark’s shared church, Bordon. The town is one of the most deprived areas of the diocese and has many social problems; there is a high level of unemployment and poverty, comparatively few go on to higher education and there are many single parents. Bordon was highlighted in the Index of Multiple Deprivation in 2010 for its low score in education skills and training. Vicar, the Revd Deborah Scott-Bromley explains: “Having a family support worker means that we can provide support in people’s time of need; someone who is not judgemental and not seen as part of the ‘officialdom’ as Social Services sometimes are. “Many are not church-going families and can find a visit from a member of the clergy a bit intimidating, so Jenny Futcher, our family support worker, acts as a bridge with the community and clergy can be called in if required.”

Church of the Good Shepherd, Farnborough

£900 was awarded to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Farnborough to help fund an Olympic-themed community fun day event in August 2012. The event included a range of children’s activities, including an inflatable bouncy castle, face painting, crafts, circus skills workshops, a Nintendo Wii with an Olympics-themed game, penalty shoot-out competitions and table top sports, as well as a barbecue and Olympics coverage on a big screen. The parish is recognised by the CofE National Administration Network as being the most deprived in the Diocese of Guildford and the aim was to provide a free, fun event to help build relationships with vulnerable people in the parish. It also provided a platform for promoting the many community services which the parish provides.

Event co-organiser, James Lee, said: “We wanted to make this a free event, so that cost wouldn't be a barrier to anyone - and we couldn't have done this without the grant we received from the BGF.”

Jubilee Church Farnham

A grant of £3,000 has been given towards the Chantrys Community Development Project. The grant will support a community outreach worker on the Chantrys estate. There are currently several activities for local residents on the estate such as a fortnightly Kidz Klub for children aged 5-10, a parent and toddler group and a weekly youth group. The additional funding will enable the number of services to be expanded, with projects to support older residents, in collaboration with other local churches and Farnham Assist. A food bank distribution point will also be established, allowing emergency food boxes to be distributed to those in need. Commented Sean Gubb, senor pastor at Jubilee Church: “The Chantrys Project is a wonderful example of how local churches can partner with local resident groups for the benefit of the community. Without the grant from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation, this ‘good news’ story would not have been possible.”

Love Me Love My Mind

Funding of £3,000 has been provided to the Epsom-based charity Love Me Love My Mind. Historically, Epsom had a number of mental health hospitals and when they closed many patients moved into sheltered accommodation in the area. In September 2006 St Barnabas’ Church Epsom started a drop-in centre for people with mental health problems who often feel isolated and need support. Now run as a separate charity, Love Me Love My Mind provides a hot meal, companionship and a variety of activities for these vulnerable people. It also runs mental first aid course to help carers understand how to cope in emergencies. The Revd Michael Preston, vicar of St Barnabas and a trustee of the charity said: “The funding will help provide food and refreshments, day trips to the seaside in summer and to London at Christmas to see the Winter Wonderland. It will also help fund Epsom Mental Health Week in October.”

Box Hill Care Team

The Box Hill Care Team, which is part of the Friends of St Andrew’s Church, Box Hill has been given a grant of £1,783 from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation to help them continue their vital work in the local community. Box Hill is an area with very limited public transport. One of the Care Team’s key tasks is to provide a service to take those who can no longer drive to hospital appointments. Other activities run by the Care Team include twice-a-month half-day outings for lunch locally by minibus, two or three longer trips – this year there will be coach trips to the Bluebell Railway and a cruise down the Medway. There are also monthly teas with a raffle and a Songs of Praise service. Another important part of the Care Team’s work is the wide range of advice that is offered to the elderly in the village from pensions, benefits and debt counselling to health and social services, home maintenance and repairs and help in times of stress such as the loss of a partner.

Street Angels, Guildford

The Bishop of Guildford's Foundation was instrumental in the set up of this groundbreaking project in 2008. Street Angels are volunteers who believe that people deserve care and love in their time of need. Those needs could be as a result of homelessness, intoxication, drug abuse, assault or any other issue which has caused personal distress or the potential for physical harm. They help people whoever they are and whatever their situation, for example by listening, caring, offering practical help or by referring people to other (specialist) agencies who can help them. Street Angels operate under the management of the Town Centre Chaplaincy, with volunteers representing people of different faiths and none. Volunteers are over 18, CRB checked, interviewed and trained. The Guildford Street Angels' programme operates with support from Surrey Police and the Safer Guildford Partnership. Initially, Guildford Street Angels was operating on Friday nights from 10pm until 4am, when all the bars and clubs are closed. This was expected to expand to cover Saturday nights as well. Street Angels (and similar programmes such as Street Pastors) have been springing up across the UK over the last 2-3 years. They make a really positive impact on crime and antisocial behaviour in towns and centres (particularly in the vicinity of bars and clubs) by providing a calming presence on the streets late at night. For more information, please visit the Guildford Street Angels website.