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Significant investment planned for our market towns

Posted on Wednesday 11 July 2018
Over the next five years, the Diocese of Ely will be investing 4.36 million pounds in the region's market towns.

The Changing Market Towns project has been awarded £2.13 million of Strategic Development Funding from the Church of England, which is being matched by the Diocese to bring the total investment over the next five years to £4.36 million. The project will be focussed on the seven towns of; Wisbech, March, Chatteris, Littleport, Ramsey, Huntingdon and Downham Market.

The project is an expression of one of the ‘Levers for Change’ within the Diocese of Ely’s Ely2025 Growth Strategy - Targeting Resources to Key Areas. It will focus on enabling and sustaining church growth in small and medium-sized towns and will significantly enhance the Diocese’s ability to realise its commitment to;

  • engage fully and courageously with the needs of our communities, locally and globally
  • grow God’s church by finding disciples and nurturing leaders, and
  • deepen our commitment to God through word, worship and prayer. It aims to work across whole towns, and not be constrained by some of the ancient parish boundaries. 

The Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, said: “I am delighted that this major project has received support from the Strategic Development Fund. We hope that, through it, very many more people will be enabled to join a journey of faith and share in God’s work of transforming their communities. It is far-reaching, complex and ambitious and an expression of our faith in the power of God”

Canon Matthew Bradbury, the Lead Minister in the Church of England’s Wisbech Market Town Mission, added: “I am absolutely delighted with the news of the grant. After more than a year in the planning, it will be great to start advertising for the additional support workers who together with the members of our congregations will be striving to take the Gospel to the heart of the community”.

The funding will enable the Diocese to transform its engagement with Fenland town communities in the north of the region, bringing in new congregations and fresh expressions of church. It will be supported by the organisational changes necessary to provide our church leaders with the freedom to focus on town ministry. It will also help to pay for a network of community support workers with family, youth and other specialisms - leading the work of our churches in transforming their communities.

Other major elements of the project include the development of a learning community for theology and mission in Wisbech. This will aim to equip and grow a wide-range of lay ministers and other trained volunteers to develop new partnerships between the churches and the wider community.

To keep in touch with the Market Towns project please visit the Diocese of Ely website at