The first Growth Fund grants to help churches reach younger adults have been awarded to three churches in different parts of the diocese - in Middlesbrough, Bridlington and the outskirts of York.

The grants, initially £5000 for the first year for each church, have been awarded to West Hill, Bessingby near Bridlington (East Riding Archdeaconry), Holy Trinity, North Ormesby (Cleveland Archdeaconry) and Huntington Benefice (York Archdeaconry).

The Growth Fund has been made possible by central Church of England ‘Strategic Development Funding’ with a total of £500,000 available over the next five years for around 25 churches or benefices in the Diocese of York to develop lay-led new worshipping communities aimed at those in the 20s to 40s.

At one of the first three churches to be awarded a grant, Holy Trinity Church, North Ormesby, Lee-Anne Southon will be supported through the fund. Lee-Anne has already begun a new worshipping community, known as ‘Moving On’ which extends from her work in the church and local community with Tots praise, Messy Church, nurture courses and holiday activities. The community meets on a Wednesday morning to explore the Bible and key aspects of Christian faith together.

In Huntington Benefice, York, James Simister will be building on his work with children and youth, and contacts through Forest Church, Messy Church and an online cell group. From January, James plans to form a team, beginning to pray around the local area, and exploring where and when a new worshipping community focused on reaching younger adults can be started.

Meanwhile, in West Hill, Bessingby (Bridlington), Emma Miles and a core team have begun to form a new worshipping community. They are praying and exploring where they can serve and bless local people, build on community development initiatives, and further their links with community organisations.

Archdeacon of the East Riding, Andy Broom, who is the lead ‘Ambassador’ for the ‘Multiply’ project, says, “To know that the first grants have already been made from the Growth Fund is very encouraging – it reflects that God is already at work and that lay leaders are going to be an essential part of reaching those in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

“We look forward to many others to establishing New Worshipping Communities and reaching those beyond our existing congregations.”

Other churches in the diocese are encouraged to take advantage of the Growth Fund which enables part time lay pioneers to be employed by a parish or benefice where there is already existing ministry and mission to 20s to 40s or families. Funding is on a gradually decreasing sliding scale with the expectation that after five years the work will be self-supporting.

Overseeing the Growth Fund is Dr Ben Walker, Associate Team Leader of the Multiply initiative: “If you're interested in beginning a new worshipping community in your parish or exploring ways of reaching younger adults, then do contact us at or alternatively, sign up to the vision workshop and find out more about the wider project.”

For more information email Ben: