St Stephen’s Church, West Bowling
St Stephen's is a constant hub of activity in this Muslim majority area, particularly because of their Shine Project.
Each week they provide a CAP Job Club and access to computers for local people to look for employment. Sarah Hinton, St Stephen’s Community Engagement Co-ordinator, says, “Many in this area don’t have a computer or IT skills (which they now need to access Universal Credit), so these sessions provide support and training in a friendly environment.”
And St Stephen’s is the first church in Bradford to become a centre for Bradford Credit Union. Sarah says, “We wanted to respond to the problems and suffering caused by debt and loan sharks, so now people can come into St Stephen’s and sign up to become Credit Union members”.
Shine has also started a gardening project, which includes growing vegetables, and some of the wellbeing activities, including a knitting group, are attended by a local group of Gurkhas. Sarah says, “Many aren’t aware of the Gurkhas who’ve lived in Bradford for a long time; we’re delighted that this church is one of the few places that they feel comfortable coming.”
Vicar, Jimmy Hinton, adds, "As the church of Christ in an area of diversity and need we want to see God's kingdom grow. For us that means building bridges, serving the poor, coming alongside people in their need - from whatever background, faith and culture. The Shine project is the vehicle through which we do this with other partners who share the same vision for our neighbours.”