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Thanks to the heroes of Christian Aid in Norfolk 

Churches and individuals in Norwich and Norfolk raised a fantastic £20,000 (including gift aid) this year during Christian Aid Week, with the support of the Norwich Christian Aid Commission.

The Norwich Christian Aid Commission was originally set up over 40 years ago by Norwich Churches Together, with the aim to provide central support for Norwich churches wishing to take part in Christian Aid Week. For churches within the boundaries of Norwich this has included the ordering and delivery of Christian Aid Week resources, a point of contact for any questions and emergencies during that time, and a central collection and administration point for the cash received.


Since then, the Commission has expanded to provide information, advice and support for churches in the greater Norwich area, and has also continued to bring together supporters at meetings and events. Some of the members are also more involved in the campaigning side of Christian Aid’s work, arranging events and meetings and protests.


The commission has more recently encouraged and coordinated local support for Christian Aid’s Community Partnership Schemes. These schemes allow groups to agree a target of funds they aim to collect, with all funds collected being matched on a ratio of, for example, 3 to 1 by the EU. 


The Commission is run by a small committee of volunteers (currently seven), and is supported by the regional Christian Aid coordinator based in Cambridge. All the Commission members organise collections at their local churches, so are well placed to provide help based on their own experience. The churches in Norwich are split into six sectors, each having their own contact on the Commission. Treasurer Paul Scarff said, “The Commission currently supports around 30 churches, and would be happy to talk to any churches in the area who feel they could benefit from local support. Usually we find there are one or two dedicated supporters in each church who organise everything! These people are the true heroes of Christian Aid!”

“It is increasingly difficult for churches and other organisations to find new volunteers, resulting in many existing volunteers being stretched to the limit. By taking away the administrative burden, and offering local help and advice, we hope to be able to reduce that strain, albeit in a limited way, It also allows us to share experiences and encourage people to carry on.”

These days about half the amounts generated during Christian Aid Week each year come from church collections, with other fundraising activities including collections outside supermarkets, lunches, plant and cake stalls, and also the distribution of envelopes in the areas local to some of the churches. Paul said, “We have seen a sharp decline in people being comfortable in returning to collect envelopes, so the majority now are delivered with instructions as to where to return the envelopes to. The lockdown years really showed people’s creativity, with online quizzes, and sales of an online recipe book, generated by recipes provided by many of the churches we support.”

Photo credit: Christian Aid


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