A Winter Opportunity – Warm Spaces Grants Available



Registered Charity Number: 1079995

Reply to: Mrs R. Ruston, Secretary

41 Hampermill Lane, Oxhey,

Watford. Herts, WD19 4NS

Tel: 01923 232110 Email: alanruston@btinternet.com



The Wood Green Trust is a grant-giving trust which has been giving grants to help Unitarian Fellowships, young people’s activities, and religious education for the past 70 years or so. The recent rise in the cost of energy and the associated cost of living, challenges our congregations and fellowships in a number of ways. The coming winter threatens to knock us back again following the pandemic, as congregations worry about heating their (often large) buildings and the relative attraction of simply staying at home.


A Winter Opportunity

The Wood Green Trust thinks that this could be an opportunity for congregations at least for this winter.

For instance, Provide a warm room. Rather than heating the church for three out of four weekly service, move into a more informal space which is easier to heat (and therefore save money and fossil fuel). We think having an informal warm space on a Sunday might encourage congregations to have occasional alternative services which might attract people from the local community Adding refreshments of course is always attractive, and the different atmosphere may provide new ways of having a meaningful time together and perhaps increase fellowship and grow understanding. The service in the main church on the fourth Sunday would ensure it was heated regularly. A warm space on church premises might spill over into another day, providing a place for people to gather and creating more opportunities for both the congregation and the community to get to know each other.


A new Wood Green Trust grant

If you want to introduce some changes, this may need money and we would like to assist especially those congregations which are thinking of stopping their services or reducing their frequency, by offering a grant and possible ideas for meeting through the winter months. This may also have potential benefits for growth.


The Trust would like to make these grants quickly to encourage a different way of working before the winter arrives.


Guidance for applying for a grant are for three specific areas of support:

1) Heating and hospitality. Heating should be concentrated in a smaller hall or meeting room instead of heating the Church or Chapel where possible. The grant could be

partly used to cover the increased cost of heating and/or providing generous refreshments.

2) Equipment. Buying some extra equipment such as an urn for hot water or a coffee machine, cushions, extra or different tables and chairs may be necessary to make these small meeting spaces more welcoming and comfortable.

3) Content and timing of meetings. Changing the ‘style of worship’ may need some help. Some of the grant could be used to pay for the services of such help.

4) Advertising. Leaflets, posters


Providing a ‘warm room’ is now being promoted all over the country. The Trust would certainly like congregations to provide such a setting, but with the added possibility of seeing how it could help them to promote themselves.

Some suggestions of the type of group activities suited to these more informal settings are:

· Café style Church – many congregations and fellowships have already tried and enjoyed these.

· Circle services – these could be the whole or part of a time together.

· Open committee meetings – give your congregation chances to think with the committee about the challenges you and our movement face.

· A simple shared discussion maybe with activities and in small groups.

· Some of these activities may be held after a regular service to increase the time you are together.


The Grant. The Wood Green Trust is offering grants of up to £1,200 to those congregations who want to try this.

In return the Wood Green Trust would ask for a report on how the grant was used, any learning experiences, and if any modifications will be used in future.

The key points we seek to support are;

· physically meeting together and encouraging environmentally friendly and cost-effective ways to achieve this (maybe car sharing, changing times to suit transport options)

· providing a really warm space which people would want to share

· experimenting with other ways of worshipping


Your application should include something about your present congregation, how you would intend to use a grant with refence to the above guidance and how you would like to meet the key points. Please include a summary of your accounts for the past 2 years.

Apply to: Mrs Rosemary Ruston (Secretary, Wood Green Trust), 41 Hampermill Lane, Watford WD19 4NS. or email – rfr35@gmail.com

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