Supporting housing justice

Published: Tuesday March 8, 2022

    Benjamin Preece Smith in an open collared shirt, smiling at the cameraAs many of you will know for the last year, our Diocesan Secretary, Benjamin Preece Smith, has been working 1 day a week with the Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community on the delivery of the recommendations set out in the Coming Home report. This work is about looking at what actions the Church can take, on its own or in partnership with others, to help tackle the housing crisis at a local, regional, and national level.

    Whole sections of our society, including people of all ages, are affected by the housing crisis, but those caught in poverty bear the brunt of this injustice. The scale and consequences of the housing crisis have been further exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is a national scandal.

    In the Diocese of Gloucester, our Responding to Growth Network, our work with the Good & Faithful Servant property developers, our projects to build affordable homes on land no longer needed by the church (St Aldate’s and St Stephen’s Churches in Gloucester) and the Living Pods project put us at forefront of action to tackle the housing crisis.

    An aerial view of the living pods development site at Hardwicke, with St Nicholas Church in the background
    An aerial view of the living pods development site at Hardwicke, with St Nicholas Church in the background

    With the support and encouragement of the Bishop’s Council, it has now been agreed that Ben will be seconded for a further 2 days a week until April 2023, to support the wider Church to tackle the housing crisis.

    To enable this to happen, Lucy Taylor, Director of Communications and Engagement, has been appointed Interim Deputy Diocesan Secretary, starting on 1 April for a year, to provide some backfill for Ben’s role.

    In keeping with the theme of change, Judith Knight, our diocesan Director of People, Pastoral and Safeguarding, is reducing her hours to set up her own HR Consultancy service. We know she will be in much demand!

    You will have also heard the wonderful news that Dean Stephen is to be the next Bishop of Salisbury and that Andrew Braddock has accepted Bishop Rachel’s invitation to be Interim Dean following Stephen’s departure in April. An interim Director of Mission and Ministry will be appointed and more news on that will be coming soon.

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