Focus Area 5: Addressing Poverty and Inequality

About this area of focus

Introduced during the pandemic, and in response to the very visible needs arising from war in Ukraine and a worsening cost of living crisis, this focus area seeks to raise awareness and amplify our response in responding to poverty and inequality.

The nature of this focus area means that we aim to be nimble in addressing the most immediate needs while ensuring that our strategic relationship with Citizens UK provides a structure for identifying, addressing and campaigning for long-term, local change through Community Organising.

Data displayed on this page are drawn from Statistics for Mission, the Archdeacons' Articles of Enquiry and information supplied by the diocesan social justice team.

Our parishes: social action and community outreach

The 2019 edition of Statistics for Mission demonstrated the amazingly wide-ranging involvement of the Church of England in social action and community outreach.

Statistics for Mission showed that, nationally, 77% of churches were involved in one or more forms of social action, particularly in the areas of running or supporting food banks, hospitality for older people, and parent and toddler groups.

Please note: Click the expansion buttons to explore each category further. The figures for social action for 2022 are based on 772 responses whereas in 2019 they were based on 703 responses. Most figures are down a little, which is maybe not surprising given in 2022 churches were still in recovery mode from COVID. Note also that we have adjusted 2019 figures to avoid double counting.

Explore this data by activity type (click here)






Analysis of the 2022 Archdeacons' Articles of Enquiry shows that 40% of the 609 parishes in the diocese were able to respond in practical ways to the cost of living crisis in 2022.

Focus Area highlights – March 2023

Cost of living crisis

  • Cost of Living poster available to every church to download, personalise, and display

  • Over 1,000 Cost of Living prayer postcards sent to parishes

  • Regular web page updates, webinars and ad-hoc support.

  • Next steps: explore collaboration with Christians Against Poverty to equip local churches to use their money management and life skills course.

Ukraine crisis

  • We have now matched and supported 198 Ukrainian individuals, including 72 children, with 100 hosts across the diocese since the programme began. Most hosts willing to extend hosting beyond 6-months. No major issues or breakdowns between matches. 

  • 188 Ukrainians have arrived at their sponsors’ homes so far, 70 children among them 

  • 29 Ukrainian guests have now moved out from their sponsors (among them - 14 moved into independent accommodation, 4 were rematched, 6 returned to Ukraine, 5 moved to other countries)

  • 5 hosts whose initial sponsorship ended, turned to us again to become hosts for new guest

  • £20,000 grant secured through Citizens UK to extend Homes for Ukraine Support role to end of 2023.

  • Supporting other dioceses and Salvation Army with their Homes for Ukraine response.

  • Ukraine one year on resources published.

Citizens UK

  • Reading and Oxford Citizens launch listening campaigns to reveal local social justice issues and connect with local people who want to be part of bringing about change.

  • Real Living Wage campaign – Chief Executive of Thames Valley Integrated Care System has agreed to talk with the Living Wage Foundation to explore accreditation as a Real Living Wage employer.

  • Settle Our Status campaign – meeting with Victoria Prentis MP to raise the issue of undocumented migrants and ask for her to support those who have made the UK their home with settled status. 

  • + 30 people from churches across the Thames Valley have attended 3 and 6-day training (plus others from Reading and Oxford Citizens). Further 25 clergy attend IME2 Citizens training day.

  • Target: Reading and Oxford Citizens conclude their listening campaigns by June. Both to launch as fully fledged alliances in November 2023.

Asylum seekers & refugees:

  • Work with Witney Deanery and CCOW to support churches working with asylum hotels.

  • 80 people attended an ecumenical webinar on this topic in February 2023

  • Work to connect Oxford churches with the new south Oxford asylum hotel to support Care4Calais and Asylum Welcome work.

  • Target: Working to encourage more dioceses to join together to create a collaborative approach to welcome and sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers.

Page last updated: Wednesday 4th October 2023 7:56 AM
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