The Kairos Partnership is a charity supported by the Diocese of Hereford but separate from it that works with local faith groups to start and develop projects to help their communities to reduce deprivation which may be due to economic factors, lack of transport or other circumstances. Kairos works with any faith-based community group (Christian, Muslim, Jewish or other recognised faith) that needs help to turn an idea into a workable project, or to grow a small project into a bigger one. The company will, if necessary, act as an accountable body for funding and assist in making bids, developing a business plan etc.
At the moment, most of Kairos’s current funding comes through the REACH Programme, supported by the Big Lottery and LEADER, which is managed by Herefordshire Voluntary Action and supported by a number of other organisations in Herefordshire. LEADER rules restrict projects to rural areas so the city of Hereford is currently excluded.
As a result of the rurality and low density of population, projects tend to be small to start with, such as setting up a lunch club for the isolated and/or elderly. The Kairos support provides knowhow, training, networking, access to funds and, very importantly, helps to build the confidence of volunteers.
Kairos does not support building projects directly. However Kairos works with the Hereford Diocese Community Funding and Partnership Officer to support the development of community activities within church buildings.
There are lots of community projects already taking place across Herefordshire:
· Messy Church – parents and children doing fun, craft-based things together;
· Lunch clubs for the elderly;
· Hot meals for those on low incomes;
· Welcome Clubs for migrant workers;
· Community Larders giving food parcels to those in crisis;
· Good neighbour schemes, encouraging the able-bodied to look after a vulnerable neighbour;
· Support for a Hip Hop youth group; and
· Finding additional community uses for a church hall.
Example: The Point Project in Ledbury
The Elim Church hosts a caravan at the Skate-park each Friday as part of a project to discourage drug dealers, giving free drinks, hot-dogs and a listening ear to the youngsters using the park. They have just received a grant, with help from Kairos, to run a circus-skills weekend for children in the local community as an additional part of their work.
 Herefordshire Voluntary Action’s REACH is a partnership approach to increasing the level of support provided to voluntary groups in the market towns and villages of the county.
 The LEADER programme runs until 2013 with more than £2.5million of support committed in Herefordshire. LEADER funds Local Action Groups (LAGs) to develop and implement solutions to rural development issues and is driven by the needs of local communities.