The REACH Ely Project

In 2015 when the Diocese published its Strategy Ely 2025, one of the five Levers of Change addressed church buildings and their place in the mission of the church in the 21st century. In order to discover more about this area, in 2018 the Diocese teamed up with the Cambridge Judge Business School to undertake the REACH Ely project. During 2019 the Team gave presentations to every Deanery Synod, explaining the work of the project and what it hoped to achieve. In the same period the Team has also visited a diverse group of more than 40 of our churches, compiling a detailed case study of each

REACH Ely (Reimagining Churches as Community Assets for the Common Good)

REACH Ely (Reimagining Churches as Community Assets for the Common Good) project was run from 2018 to 2022 to help communities make fuller use of their historic churches. The project was implemented by the Diocese of Ely and Cambridge Judge Business School with the support of Benefact Trust (formally known as the Allchurches Trust) and Historic England.

This innovative research project in a church context provides an understanding of the relationship between communities and the wider use of church buildings as well as the contribution that churches make to the common good. The project determines community values, needs and opportunities that can be used in the most effective way to ensure a win-win outcome for communities and sustainable future of historic church buildings.

Quick Links

The pages linked below contain a wide-ranging amount of information. The following links take you to each page directly, you can also click on the page links themselves below to view the page.



About the Project, Context, Aims, Strategy and Methods

First published on: 5th August 2022

REACH Ely investigated the community value of church buildings and how this relates to success in the missional life of the church. The resulting data is used to provide tools for churches to use to identify the opportunities existing in their local communities. This page introduces the Context, Aims, Strategy and Methods used.

REACH Ely: Outcomes and Downloads

First published on: 5th August 2022

The findings from the REACH Ely Research, Audit and Case Study work has enabled us to produce a range of resources to help support Churches. This page introduces the outcomes of the project and the published documentation that has come from that work.

An Audit of church buildings and communities 

First published on: 5th August 2022

We asked all churches in the Diocese of Ely to complete an audit of their church buildings and communities. This took the form of a questionnaire, whose questions were shaped by the findings of the case studies. 

REACH Ely: Case studies

First published on: 5th August 2022

Stage two of the REACH Ely methodology was to undertake a number of scoping case studies. Following interviews about church buildings and community characteristics from deaneries and parishes in the Diocese of Ely, supplemented with secondary information about the communities they represent. The findings were used to develop case studies of church building use, clusters of church buildings uses, and the data categories in the survey. 

Church Buildings Google Group

First published on: 5th August 2022

This group is a message hub or a shared inbox for the online community of churches in the Diocese of Ely. This is a place for peer-to-peer support and a platform to have a productive discussion, seek and share best practice advice with your counterparts.

Video and Film Resources

First published on: 5th August 2022

A series of video and film resources, both from the Diocese of Ely and others, to help support the Reach Ely project.

REACH Ely: Additional Resources

First published on: 5th August 2022

This page contains links to a variety of further resources church leaders might find helpful.

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