Redesign of Methodist grant fund to better provide for changing face of UK poverty

The Methodist Church is to respond to the changing face ofpoverty in the UK through a redesigning of its national grantprogramme supporting projects that work with people experiencingpoverty, following a decision of the Methodist Conferencetoday.

'Methodist Action on Poverty and Justice', formerlythe 'Mission Alongside the Poor Programme', is a grant givingstream of the Methodist Church which has access to over a millionpounds in grant funding each year to encourage and supportcommunity projects to help impoverished people in the UK.


Set up in the 1980s, the 'Mission Alongside the Poor Programme'was initiated to encourage and enable churches to become betterneighbours to people in need in their communities. Despite severalsubsequent revisions and refinements, it was decided today thatrecent developments in the nature of poverty in the UK required anoverall review of the programme.

As well as committing to a better integration of practical helpand advocacy, the redesign identifies the growth of in-work povertyin the UK and calls for new projects to respond effectively to thisreality.

"Poverty is changing and so must the Church's response," HelenWoodall, Chair of the Connexional Grants Committee, said. "It's nolonger accurate to think of poverty affecting only those who areout of work. Unemployment does continue to remain a good marker ofpoverty in the UK; but, being in work is no longer a good markerfor not experiencing poverty. If we are to respondeffectively to poverty today, we must be more ready to offer a handto those whose work is insecure, low paid or only a fewhours."

A recent  report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicated thataround 13 million people in the UK currently live in poverty, themajority of whom are in working families.

Ms Woodall added: "The Mission Alongside the Poor Programme wasa fantastic model empowering and equipping churches to tacklepoverty in the local community, but the programme had largelyremained unchanged since the 1980s. In this rebranding and refocus,the Church has reaffirmed that the need is still all too evident,but that our language around how poverty is experienced in the UKneeds to change to match the experiences of today.

"Practically, what this means for us as beneficiaries of grantsis that we have had to rethink what qualifies for projectsalleviating poverty in local communities." 

'Methodist Action on Poverty and Justice' grants are available for application for any projects aimedat alleviating poverty in the UK. While all organisations arewelcome to apply, a Methodist partner must be involved in theprocess. For more information and how to apply,  click here.



  1. A video presented to the Methodist Conference as part of thereport is available to watch online  here.
  2. The Conference is the body that agrees policy for the MethodistChurch. It meets annually as a group of 306 representatives, alongwith a number of ecumenical and World Church associate members.This year's Conference is being held at Central Hall Westminsterfrom 30 June 7 July. For more information, visit the  Methodist website.
  3. You can watch the Conference live  here.
  4. Follow the Conference conversation on Twitter via the  #methodistconf hastag. Please note that comments andopinions on Twitter and the blog do not necessarily represent theMethodist Church's position.