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Leeds Christian Community Trust

“Leeds Christian Community Trust aims to stimulate Christian mission and unity in Leeds. It is particularly aimed at individuals who have dreams and visions of how things might be different and who want to work with others to turn these dreams and visions into reality for the furtherance of the kingdom of God in Leeds.”


In 2002, several mission initiatives were seeking to become constituted as charitable trusts. They were distinctive in that they drew together partners from different church backgrounds within Leeds. Each one would have needed to set up its own structure, constitution, insurance, accounting and other systems. The idea emerged to develop a ‘generic’ trust that would enable these groups to share resources. Leeds Christian Community Trust (LCCT) came into existence in March 2003 to serve mission in Leeds by the whole church. In 2003, LCCT secured ‘no-strings-attached’ benefactor seed funding for three years to enable mission initiatives to happen.

LCCT values

· The Kingdom of God The Trust exists to contribute to the transformation of Leeds via the agency of God’s people, united through Jesus Christ. “We want to explore what it means for all people and projects supported by the Trust to understand their role in the bigger picture of God’s Kingdom in Leeds, as opposed to concentrating solely on their own projects.”

· The Unique Value of Individuals “All people inherently deserve respect, and we should strive to understand everyone, celebrating our diversity as a sign of God’s creativity. We value relationships above tasks . . .”

· Dreams and Visions The Trust believes that God has equipped people for specific callings, and that their dreams and visions of community transformation are indicative of this calling. The trustees therefore seek to release people into their dreams as opposed to initiating our own projects and asking others to serve them.

· Releasing not Controlling The Trust wants to explore what it means supportively to release each other within a helpful and effective framework, which facilitates the best use of all of our strengths. “Wherever possible we want to rely on trust and goodwill above bureaucracy and coercion – this could be called a ‘light power footprint’.”

· The Unity of the Body The Trust believes that when God looks at Leeds He only sees one church because He only has one body. “We seek to avoid competition and duplication by linking people together, especially those with similar dreams and visions, so that they can complement each other.”

How LCCT works

“Applying to LCCT is not merely about seeking funding, (although funding may be part of the support we give). Applying to LCCT is about beginning a relationship with us, which will look different for everyone we engage with. We like to have discussions around the values of the shape and structure of projects, but we also offer support/signposting in practical areas such as training, mentoring, networking, support, legal and financial structures, book-keeping and accountancy, insurance cover, policy development and employment services. The application path we recommend for you depends largely on your existing structures and your current access to these practical necessities.”

The vision is to enable, encourage and support Christians, working in unity and in mission, to pursue their dreams and visions to make a positive difference in Leeds. LCCT works in two ways:

· It provides grants for projects which fit the Trust’s criteria and charitable objects;
· It takes on new projects as its own, providing ‘seed’ funding, payroll, insurance and administrative and developmental support.

The Trust's criteria for supporting projects are:

· Mission – The trust exists to promote and further the mission of God’s people towards the transformation of Leeds in obedience to the teachings of Jesus, specifically the Great Commandment (to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves) and the Great Commission (to make disciples).

· Unity – The trust will support people with a commitment to work across Christian congregations/denominations. It will support projects involving more than one church. Projects must not duplicate the work others are already doing in the intended geographical context. LCCT will only support projects in the absence of a better alternative.

· Leeds – the Trust will only support projects that operate within the Leeds Metropolitan District.

· Grass-roots – Independent or partnership based projects that are the vision of someone ‘on the ground’ are more likely to be successful than those put forward by someone in an institutional position of authority. Projects that already exist are more likely to be considered if their annual budget is less than £50,000.

Becoming an LCCT project

In order to apply to be a member project, projects will usually be required to have the following in place:

· Some level of market research/needs analysis.
· A first year budget or an idea of how much money is needed and where it will come from.
· A business plan/project vision statement or something written down that explains the ideas and how it is anticipated they will be developed.
· A support group (people who will help oversee the project, be a source of support and reference).
· Any legal checks (e.g. CRBs) and risk assessments.

Track record

Since 2003 over 30 projects have benefited from being part of LCCT. The vast majority of those projects are still part of the Trust, while others have either finished (due to the original dreamer moving onto other things or the project having a limited life span), or stepped out of the trust to become their own legal entities. These projects cover a variety of activities, such as:

· After-school clubs;
· Youth work;
· Creative arts;
· Work with asylum seekers;
· Networking and promoting links across different ethnic groups;
· Friendship and support groups;
· Training;
· Anti-poverty work.

In addition to projects that have become part of the trust, LCCT has made over 100 external grants since 2003 to a wide variety of projects in Leeds. LCCT also has a delegated grants scheme where small pots of money are made available for specific spheres within the city and a small group of people active within those spheres have a pot of money to give to people and projects as they see fit. As at 2010, these delegated grant groupings were Youth, the postcode area of LS11 (Cottingley and Holbeck), and the Arts.

In 2010, approximately 345 regular volunteers help to deliver the projects of the trust. Their contribution in hours was circa 943 hours per week which would equate to an annual cost of around £490,000.

LCCT Structure

LCCT is set up legally as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Trustees are from a wide range of denominational and professional backgrounds to ensure that it is an open and approachable resource for the entire Christian community in the city.

It is a seedbed rather than a managing trust. Management of each project is the responsibility of the dreamer/vision carrier with support from their own reference group. Each project is accountable to LCCT trustees through a link trustee and by reporting through the Support Team. Funded projects are appraised against their agreed development plan. For auditing purposes, member projects’ accounts make up a sub-section of the accounts of the whole charity but the finances of any one project are kept separate from others. The aim is for each project to secure external funding support and eventually become a separate legal entity.

Leeds Christian Community Trust