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.

Community Bridge in Ewell & Epsom

A £9,800 grant has been made to support a new project for foodbank customers in Epsom and Community Bridge project1Ewell who have complex ongoing issues. Jonathan Lees, who manages the foodbank for Churches Together says “We find that food poverty is often just the tip of the iceberg, and unless we can help clients address other problems, it is very difficult for many to improve their situation and move on.  This grant from The Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation, will enable us to employ a part-time paid co-ordinator and worker, which is key to getting this ambitious project off the ground.


Cellar Café, Godalming

CellarExterior​The Foundation has provided £3,600 towards the core costs of running The Cellar Café in Godalming.  This is an arm of the Warehouse Christian Trust and its principle objective is to provide a secure, affordable and friendly place for disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the community to meet and discuss problems amongst themselves and with café staff and volunteers who can also offer practical support. A free meal is available to any who come in need, and an art group, run in partnership with the Watts Gallery, provides the opportunity for people to find fulfilment and friendship, together with a sense of purpose. Jacky Beale, a trustee of The Warehouse Christian Trust  said: “It’s not obvious in a town like Godalming, but two wards have the highest level of overall deprivation in the Borough of Waverley and the highest risk and incidence of mental health issues in Surrey. We are very grateful for this continued support which will help us to cope with the increasing needs of our customers.”

Mental health initiative in Cove


A pioneering initiative by two church members in Cove, Farnborough is being supported with a grant of £2,000. ‘Open Door’ started as the vision of Sally Brett, a community worker and Sue Davis, a pastoral assistant at St John’s Church, Cove, to help those isolated by mental health difficulties, loneliness or struggling to cope with life for whatever reason. It provides a drop-in facility on the first three Wednesday evenings of each month and offers a listening ear, a place to make friends, signposting to other services and a home-cooked meal. “It has been a very challenging and rewarding experience,” says Sue. “Our first year has proved that the need is there and we feel that we are making a real difference to people’s lives. We are immensely grateful to BGF for the grant which will help with the costs of running the group – including food, equipment and transport for trips out.”

Coffee and cake at East Molesey

St mary's Cafe 1

St Mary’s Church, East Molesey has received a grant of £3,000 to help support the growth of their successful community café. This offers hot and cold drinks and home-baked snacks at affordable prices, with a soft play area for the under-fives on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays there is a quieter environment for those without young children. The café regularly attracts 50-60 parents and 40-50 children a day and its opening hours have now been extended. The Revd Richard Lloyd, vicar of St Mary’s, said: “Our café is both a blessing to the community and an opportunity to reach out to those who do not currently come to church.” The surplus from the sale of food and drinks is paying off the cost of buying the soft-play equipment, and the BGF grant will help pay the salary of the part-time manager until this has been achieved.”

Forest estate community hub

Forest Eastate Cooking Club (2)

BGF has provided £2,000 to help The Journey, River Church in Englefield Green to continue to run a community hub for people living on the nearby Forest Estate. Starting with a family drop-in centre and mental health support network, activities have now been expanded and include an all-age café garden project where people grow plants and vegetables to take home or use in the hub’s cooking club, a monthly, free, community lunch which attracts around 6o people and a sports and crafts club for children aged 7-12. Denise Brannan, manager of the hub commented: “This is proving such a worthwhile project. The police tell us that crime and anti-social behaviour on the estate is down and I like to think that we have played a part in that. We have also just heard that we’ve been nominated for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is very exciting as we await the results.”

Youth arts project

GW Jun 17 Weston Niamh

Following the success of phase one of a youth arts project at All Saints’, Weston last year, the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation has agreed to provide £500-worth of funding towards a further scheme. The project resulted from the unexpected gift of an Apple Mac and video-editing software which were  used to give young people the opportunity to learn photography and video skills, while at the same time fulfilling a worthwhile social purpose. About 40 young people were involved in phase one in which they interviewed other young people about their experience of growing up in Elmbridge, and also interviewed community leaders including the local MP, a headteacher, a vet and Bishop Andrew. 90 people attended a gala showing of the video in All Saints’ and all agreed the project had been a great success. The Revd Phillip Johnson, vicar of All Saints’, comments: “Our parish has areas of significant social need and there is little for those who are  not interested in something else. This project is so valuable because it helps fill that gap, so I’m delighted that the Foundation is supporting this scheme again.”

Camberley Besom

GW Mar 17 Camberley Besom

A £1,000 grant is helping with the running costs of Camberley Besom which provides supportfor individuals and families who find themselves in a desperate situation and are in emergency accommodation. Many of these need help with basics such as food and starter packs of  bedding, towels and kitchen equipment. “There are many reasons why people need support,” says Mary Rigby, chair of Camberley Besom . “Family breakdown and bereavement are two of the most frequent causes, but others include those who have suffered domestic abuse, are homeless or have just been released from prison. We are very appreciative of this further grant from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation.The first grant we received five years ago was crucial – Camberley Besom wouldn’t be here today without it and this latest grant will help support us for a further year.”

Supporting the vulnerable and lonely in Ewell

GW Feb 17 Generation 2_Lowres‘Friday Friends’ a club for elderly people  run by Generation Church, Ewell, has been awarded a £1,000 grant by BGF, which will help with running costs and transport for those who can no longer drive to the club.  Jonathan Lees, senior leader of Generation Church says: “We are very grateful for this support from BGF. With an ageing population, loneliness and isolation among the elderly is a key issue in our area. The project has been going for four years and we now welcome over 50 guests to our sessions – nearly 40 of whom have joined us in the last year. It is proving a great success and for many of those who come it is the highlight of their week. They are making new friends over a cup of coffee and some are even arranging to go away on holiday together.

Jigsaw Project, Woking

The Jigsaw Project, which provides GW Feb 17 Jigsawclothing,toys and equipment to support families in financial need with pre-school children has received a grant of £6,500 from monies donated to the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation. The grant will be used to help meet operational costs and to appoint a coordinator to enable more fund-raising activities. Karen Heynike, Jigsaw coordinator, comments: “We are very appreciative of the support from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation for this vital work we do in the community. Some of our clients are women in safe shelters, some are refugees, others find themselves in poverty through no fault of their own. We aim to help children who are victims of their family’s crisis by providing clothing, toys and equipment such as stair gates, cribs and prams.” Donations in kind are welcome, call Karen on 07780 332458.

Befriending Network, Busbridge

GW Dec 16 BefriendingThe Befriending Network run by Busbridge church is being expanded to meet demand, helped by a grant of £5,000 from monies donated to the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation.  this will help fund a co-ordinator to manage a team of volunteers spread throughout the Godalming, Farncombe, Milford, Witley and Chiddingfold areas.   The project befriends and supports anyone who is isolated, lonely, or vulnerable, by offering increased opportunities for social interaction.  This may be by the provision of a volunteer visitor or inviting them to join in the regular social activities provided through the parish’s Prime Time programme.   Mark Pateman, director of older people’s ministry for the parish of Busbridge and Hambledon said: “We are very grateful for the support of the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation, which is helping us to spread this very worthwhile service to a wider area  of south west Surrey.

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 ClubBishop 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.