Our Work


Workshop Recording

On 27th July, we had the privilege of facilitating a workshop with Professor Bola Owolabi, NHS England Director for Health Inequalities, along with many of our partners who run church-led initiatives to support community health and wellbeing. The workshop helped us build a clearer picture of what effective partnership between the NHS and churches looks like and gave us plenty of ideas of how to build on the excellent work already happening around the country.

Read about it in our blog post or watch this recording.

ChurchWorks For Wellbeing 2023

On 18th May 2023 we gathered hundreds of Church leaders in Westminster Chapel to explore how the local church can effectively respond to the mental health crisis. 

Missed the day? Attended but want a refresher? Access our event site here. Free access for conference attendees- you will have received an email with the login password. Or Click here to access the site for £5. After paying you will be sent an email with the login password.

Have a read of our blog about the day here and see The Church Times’ coverage here.

Social Prescribing

Social Prescribing connects people to non-medical support to address their broader wellbeing needs such as mental health challenges or isolation. Social Prescribing was formally introduced to NHS England in 2019 and often takes place through an NHS employed social prescribing link worker. This individual will listen to the needs of the patient and refer them to appropriate support such as a walking club, debt counselling, or gardening group. 

You can find out more about Social Prescribing from the NHS here

Find out more about how churches can engage in social prescribing here.

"There is no other organisation that cares for the whole person, as well as the church. Its engagement with the statutory authorities, focussed on individuals’ well-being, provides an invaluable opportunity for a synchronised partnership to the benefit of all our communities"

- Olivia Armarty, Executive Director, Elim International

Stories of change

We love to celebrate where the church has brought hope to local communities. Explore some stories from our partners below.

Lambeth Palace Event

On 26th September, some of our Commissioners and supporters met at the beautiful new Lambeth Palace Library for a fascinating discussion as part of our What’s Going On? series, exploring the church’s role in public life and how national church leaders can play a positive role in the life of the country and our communities.

A panel of church leaders from the Methodist Church, Coptic Orthodox Church and Church of England unpacked some fascinating (and challenging!) questions from host Professor Luke Bretherton about balancing their personal perspectives on major issues with their offices as church leaders, the role of ecumenical collaboration as a coalition for the common good, and how to operate faithfully outside of the culture wars framework.

One of the Commission’s goals is to help church leaders understand and articulate the place of the church in public life with humility, nuance and confidence. Through this ongoing series of gatherings, run in partnership with St Mellitus College, we hope to resource the church to develop a more positive and hopeful articulation of the role of the Church in our country today.

Bereavement-Friendly Church

Coming out of lockdown Good News Church, Melksham, had the opportunity to open a community café.  

‘After the lockdowns many people had become socially isolated, and their health had been badly affected.’, shares pastor John Firth. ‘Rather than immediately prescribing medication, the doctors were prescribing social involvement activities. Our drop-in quickly began to grow as the social prescribers brought their clients to the space. Friendships quickly began to grow, and the community expanded quickly.’

The church decided to run The Bereavement Journey course with other local churches. Soon Social Prescribing Link Workers started to refer to the course.  

One attendee included a man who had lost his wife 10 years ago and felt angry and isolated. ‘Two weeks into the course he said, “I’m ready to begin life again”.’, shares John.  ‘The change in his demeanour and appearance so touched his social prescriber that she asked if we would run another group for more of her clients.’

'We have seen tears turned to laughter; loneliness turned to friendships.  Those who have joined us have gained invaluable tools to continue their walk along The Bereavement Journey.'

Movement for Recovery and Linking Lives

Bedford Linking Lives is a befriending scheme which engages with and supports older people experiencing loneliness or social isolation and is run as a partnership between Woodside Church and national Christian charity, Linking Lives UK.

Prior to setting up Bedford Linking Lives, the church had strong links with the social prescribing network and worked particularly closely with three local community connectors, two of whom were given desk space at the church.  The venue gradually developed into an informal multi agency hub at which collaborative discussions could be facilitated to address individual needs and concerns. Community Connectors therefore referred people to the befriending scheme and other services and those benefiting from the befriending scheme were also able to be referred on to other local services through the social prescribers Since establishing the befriending scheme, they have over 60 of referrals now come from community connectors.

Woodside Church leader, Richard Clements, explains ‘this has been a unique opportunity for the church to “love the person in front” and also for us to become a key small cog in a big wheel.'

!Audacious Wellbeing

The !Audacious Well-being Course seeks to equip people to thrive in life by giving them the tools to have a healthy well-being; mentally, physically and spiritually. The course is suitable for those with a faith or none and is a safe place where we seek to offer an inclusive and supportive environment to all.

Julie Kier, leader of the Audacious Wellbeing, shares ‘the Audacious Wellbeing course aims to bring together psychology, the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and personal story’.

Following course completion, Audacious Wellbeing found that 94% of participants recorded an improvement in their overall well-being.

“Having practical tools that are easily applicable in real life made this course worth the time investment.” Shared a course attendee.

“...[the course] gives you a bank of strategies…and you create a community/family on your table.”

Another 2020 participant said that, “The !Audacious Well-being Course definitely strengthened my mental health; it provided strategies to stop me from spiralling downwards”.

Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries

The sanctuary course creates space for conversation and companionship. Minister Rachel Greaves-Brown facilitated the course at St John’s Hoxton, a parish church in a vibrant but significantly under resourced area in East London.

“I really saw God at work through the journey that the whole group went on through the sessions. There was huge growth in self-awareness and understanding [of mental health]. We were given language to put to our experiences.”, shared Rachel.

“It can be challenging to encourage people to believe they are valued and important. I think that’s one area The Sanctuary Course can speak into. If you feel like you haven’t had a voice, that’s going to have a knock-on effect for your sense of value and worth. The course encouraged people to speak out about their experiences.”

Overall, Rachel said,

“The Sanctuary Course is a gift to churches—to help dismantle the stigma and prejudice around mental health. It lends itself to creating safe, supportive, and hopeful spaces where participants can experience transformation in their relationship to their own mental health and how they support others.”

Waverley Abbey Contemporary Chaplains

"The course has shown me that it’s not just about hospital chaplains or prison chaplains, and it’s not just about having a really slick gospel up your sleeve, but it’s about bringing the presence of God into our communities" – Contemporary Chaplaincy student

Waverley Abbey are seeking to equip contemporary chaplains to bring the hope of God into our everyday places. After recent years of crisis after crisis, the mental health and wellbeing of our communities is suffering. The Contemporary Chaplaincy movement is an opportunity for ordinary Christians to bring hope, love and support. Waverley Abbey are equipping followers of Jesus to work as chaplains in community groups, sports clubs, foodbanks, offices, clubs and bars and many other contexts. Where would you love to see God move?

ChurchWorks for

18th May 2023

In recent years, the church has become increasingly aware of the prevalence of mental health challenges and the lack of NHS capacity to provide vital care to those who would benefit from support. Our faith compels us to extend hospitality, generosity and love to anyone in need in, both within and beyond, our community. 

However, responding to this crisis can feel overwhelming. How can we extend our love effectively and sustainably? Should churches be supporting good mental health? Can we proactively support and complement NHS provision?

ChurchWorks for Wellbeing offered an opportunity for cChurch lLeaders to explore these questions through a uniquely inter-disciplinary event with a focus on practical application.

Missed the day?

Attended but want a refresher?
Visit our Event Mini Site. Access our event site here. Free access for conference attendees- you will have received an email with the login password. Or Click here to access the site for £5. After paying you will be sent an email with the login password. 

Have a read of our blog about the day here and see The Church Times’ coverage here.



Pastor Agu Irukwu
Pastor Glyn Barrett
Julie Keir
Corin Pilling
Dr Keith Foster
Anna Baker-Barnes
Patrick Regan OBE
Faith Kenny
Jessica Agboola
Dr Jane Fryer
Clarie Miles

Timeline of Wellbeing

October 2021
First Commission Meeting

During the Commissioner’s first ever meeting, Commissioners identified wellbeing as one of the key areas to work on.

January 2022
ChurchWorks Summit

At the ChurchWorks Summit with Government held in January 2022, Commissioners and members formulated the beginnings of the ChurchWorks for Wellbeing campaign and the need for national research on churches and social prescribing.

September/October 2022
Integrated Care System Roundtables

In September and October we met with representatives from various Integrated Care Systems (ICS) around the country to discuss the possibilities of further capacity building and scoping work to strengthen links between local health systems, social prescribers and church groups to support the reduction of health inequalities. 

5th December 2022
NASP Webinar: Churches and Social Prescribing

Alongside key ChurchWorks partners, we shared examples of how the church can engage in social prescribing. You can watch the webinar recording here. 

18th May 2023
ChurchWorks for Wellbeing

Over 300 church leaders gathered in Westminster Chapel to explore how the local church can practically respond to the mental health crisis. Find out more about the event on our blog here.