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Link Up, serving the wider Faith and Civic community

Together with Cheshire West and Chester Council, Link Up has become an effective single-point of contact for Faith in West Cheshire. Extensive networking means a growing level of interest and contact from groups locally and nationally.  Ongoing work includes:

• Faith Forums: locality-based gatherings engaging Faith Groups with our Local Authority, agencies and voluntary sector groups.
• Strategic engagement: working to make routine and innovative Faith projects part of the wider community planning.
• Signposting and intelligence: through Audits, partnership and use of knowledge-based systems.

Alison Linfield, Project Manager, is first point of contact and available to meet or talk further about engaging with, and within, the Faith Sector.  Click here to email Alison.


"Faith in the Community" Audit

In 2013 Link Up recognising the value of the 2010 Faith Audit agreed to refresh with work across the borough to see how the landscape of community action had changed. The “Faith in the Community” audit is part of the “Standing in the Gap” project jointly funded by Link Up and Cheshire West and Chester Council.


Summary of results:

Economic impact:  500% increase from £500,000 to 3m in 2013
Projects: 13% increase in the number of projects provided from 420 to 476, with 142 new projects since 2010
Users: 54% increase in the number of people engaging with the community activities, now nearly 17,000
Volunteers: 20% increase over the three years from 2000 to 2409

Localities: engagement and impact by area





Winsford & Northwich

Rural Communities


Response Rate   54% 44% 64% 41%  
Number of projects 171 46 118 141 476
Volunteer hours 171,774 37,333 113,148 73,713 395,968
Economic Impact £1,300,673 £282,685 £856,757 £553,732 £2,993,847


Responses by Faith Tradition

This project focuses on Faith Action and service delivery. West Cheshire Inter Faith Forum aims to raise awareness of, and to celebrate, the diversity of faith and belief groups in West Cheshire and can be contacted at

Projects include: Foodbanks, Street Pastors, CAP, and Agricultural Chaplaincy, while Other includes Snow Angels, Lift project and Port Reach.
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Breakdown of activities

chart3 640x401 336 activities were identified from the list of options, with an additional 140 also provided by Faith Groups these included music groups, money courses, sporting activities and Flame Christian Radio. The most common activities are shown in the figure here.


Altogether Better: projects supporting the key themes

Five key themes were identified by Cheshire West and Chester Council under the Altogether Better initiative. Faith Groups are already engaged in activities in these priority areas and are keen to engage with this on-going work. chart1 640x320

For the full report please click here.
For more information on the methodology, please click here.


Engaging with the Faith Sector

Does the Faith Sector want to engage?

Audits in 2010 and 2013 showed a 50%+ response rate – demonstrating engagement independent of the economic and political cycle. A recent Church of England report1 found that 79% of members engage in some formal voluntary action compared to just 40% of the general population, whereas 90% are involved in informal voluntary activity as opposed to 54% of the general population.

Why engage with the wider Faith Sector?

Your vision or desired outcome may already be an objective of a public, voluntary or other Faith Sector group. Projects in partnership attract a higher profile, have a greater impact and could access additional funding. Others may already be doing what you plan to do, with opportunities for a quicker start-up, economy of scale and shared good practice.

How does Faith Sector activity relate to wider community objectives?

Faith Groups are already delivering projects under each of the five key themes of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Altogether Better programme. Overall 111 projects are being provided. 25% support Families Together Projects, 25% the Ageing well theme, 17% provide activities which promote Safer Communities, 13% support Smarter Services and 10% are helping prepare people under the Work Ready Individuals theme.

What community assets do Faith Groups provide in West Cheshire?

By their very nature Faith Groups are locally based, 77% of those responding have their own buildings. Of these 62% said they would be willing to hire their rooms for community use. Local knowledge, long-term presence and good-will combine to promote partnership working and co-location between public, faith and voluntary sectors.

How does partnership working extend project impact and sustainability?

The Panna football cage project is operated jointly by Blacon Community Church and Cheshire Police. It builds relationships with young people, helps to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour and has seen a 30% reduction in ASB in areas where the football cage is used. Visibility gained from the 2010 Faith Sector Audit prompted support from local councillors, providing a dedicated cage securing project sustainability. Discussions are now taking place to see if this example of good practice can be extended across the Borough. This is just one example of many case studies available to view on the case studies page.