Headlines: November 9th, 2009

Representatives of more than 20 local authorities and health trusts have signed up for a groundbreaking conference that will show how they can manage public services in church buildings.

They will be among 200 delegates who will have an opportunity to visit churches that have been converted for wider use while still being places of worship. One will house a branch library and a centre for delivering local authority children’s services.

The “Crossing the Threshold” conference is taking place on November 19th in Hereford where the local Church of England Diocese is leading the way in working with the public sector and voluntary organisations. The event is the first step in a year-long campaign by the Church of England nationally to develop its buildings for community use.

Wendy Coombey, Community Partnership and Funding Officer for the Hereford Diocese said: “The development has been extraordinary in some cases. We are certain that the branch library on the first floor via lift access in a Grade I listed Church is a first and it will be still be functioning as a village church. On the ground floor Government and local authority services for children will be delivered to a large rural area, all part of a three hundred thousand pound project.”

Delegates will also get a chance to visit a second church, which has been converted to house a community shop and Post Office. The event will also see the launch of a toolkit and DVD commissioned by Herefordshire Council and the diocese, showing how partnership projects can be developed and carried forward. More details of the conference are available at www.hereford.anglican.org