One of the resources on the CUF website is a Directory of Ready-to-Go Church Community Projects (Church Urban Fund, November 2010).
This gives information about a variety of national organisations that can provide tools, support and advice in relation to a range of activities including debt advice, employment and training, foodbanks, homelessness, health care, street life, pregnancy advice and young people. It indicates the advantages in partnering with a national organisation to set up a community project:
· Pre-established templates and procedures (including monitoring systems), promotional material and governance structures can reduce the amount of time preparing to get the project off the ground.
· Being able to access the experience, best practice and learning can lead to greater effectiveness.
· The networking and events bringing project workers/church leaders together to share learning, common problems can reduce isolation and the chance of burn-out.
· Management is made easier because project models are established with clear protocols and there is scope for advice and support.
Such a partnership is not the same as becoming a local branch of a national organisation. These projects are owned and run by local churches and so have a high degree of ownership. Consequently they are successful at accessing the enthusiasm, finances, volunteers and prayers of local people.