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Support for People in Need

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked – in the House of Commons on 19th May 2020.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking with (a) the Government and (b) other faith groups to support people in need.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

The priority for the Church has been to continue its vital service to those in material and spiritual need in all communities despite the restrictions imposed. Bishops and the Church are in regular contact with Ministers, and to this end the Church is represented on two Cabinet Office taskforces.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have many interests, including cricket, as you do I know.

The smaller charities are struggling because of fundraising difficulties in the current crisis. Will my hon. Friend look at how the Church can work with those charities? It is true that our churches have closed, but the Church has many buildings—church halls and so on—that might be made available. Fellowship and faith are so important at this time, as is our charitable work. I wonder if he can help.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

All food bank work in churches continues. For example, Christ Church in Eastbourne is feeding 200 people breakfast in its car park; churches in Alston Moor are delivering groceries in a refrigerated van; and St Luke’s in Buckfastleigh has delivered 18 sets of hearing aids among other items. There are wonderful examples of what the Church is doing, and no doubt that is happening in South Holland and the Deepings as well.