Notes from the Churches Together in Lichfield Forum held on 4th February 2020 in College Hall, The Close.

The meeting was chaired by Rick Hill and opened with a prayer.






Warren Bardsley

Nigel Bell

Ian Brazendale

Jan Brazendale

David Clarke

Linda Collins

Phil Davies

Jim Dodsworth

Nigel Gann

Roger Hartley

Michael Hawkes

Jan Hawkes


Methodist Church

Wade Street

Wade Street

Wade Street

St. Giles and Foodbank

St. Micheal’s

St. Chad’s

St. Chad’s


Wade Street

St. Chad’s

St. Chad’s


Janet Heeley

Richard Henshaw

Rick Hill

Anne Hill

Caroline Johnson

Brenda Liptrot

Brian Maguire

Pat Maguire

David Mason

Elizabeth Ridler

David Wittaker

Cathy Wood

St. Chad’s

Holy Cross

Wade Street, Co-chair

Wade Street

Wade Street

St. Michael’s


Cathedral, Co-chair

Cathedral, Secretary

Wade Street, Treasurer


Methodist Church


Apologies: Roger Baker, Ian Hayter, Rob Hilyer, Robert Mountford, Anthony Naraine, Lilas Rawling


David Whittaker, Housing Options Manager, Lichfield District Council – David spoke about ‘Homelessness – Local Authority Statutory Duty’. He outlined the procedures the Council follows if someone turns up at their office and claims to be homeless. He started by defining what the official definition is of a person who is considered to be homeless or threatened with homelessness. He went on to describe who is classed as eligible under current legislation and who can be classed as having ‘priority need’. He went on to talk about the problem of intentionality and how they assess whether a person can be considered to have a local connection. Then he talked about homelessness prevention and homelessness relief and drew attention to the Council’s website which outlines Lichfield District Council’s Housing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy. He also talked about the annual estimate of rough sleepers. The figures for the last four years were 2016 – 1, 2017 – 3, 2018 -5, 2019 – 5. He also described the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol which comes into effect when there are three or more days forecast where the temperature will fall below freezing at night. He mentioned the work of the staff and volunteers of the Lichfield Emergency Night Shelter which has resulted in three of those classified as homeless being found accommodation. The Government target for rough sleeping is to halve it by 2022 and to eradicate it by 2027. The current Spring Housing Project workers try to engage with and direct rough sleepers to services and provide accommodation in accordance with Housing First criteria i.e. deal with other issues after they have gone into accommodation – a model which has been employed successfully in other places. Three properties have now been acquired. The Council also plan to dissuade the public from giving money to rough sleepers and plan to set up an alternative giving scheme.


Nigel Gann, Secretary, Lichfield City of Sanctuary - Nigel outlined the work of City of Sanctuary UK in providing a widespread network of over 100 towns, cities, villages and local communities committed to the vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all, and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing from violence and persecution. The organisation was set up fifteen years ago in Sheffield by Inderjit Bhogal, who spoke at the launch of the Lichfield group. For further information he recommended a document on the Lichfield Diocesan website by David Primrose entitled ‘I was a stranger’. Over the next twelve months the team plan to engage with other local organisations. An event has also been planned at St. Mary’s on 4th June entitled ‘An Evening with an Immigrant’.



1. The minutes of the Forum in October 2019 were agreed

2. There were no matters arising

3. Liz reported the total in the bank accounts amounts to £9586.68, income over the last twelve months was £9777.40 and expenditure was £5025.55.

4. Lichfield Christian Schools’ Work Trust. Rick Hill reported that over sixty people attended the recent meeting of the Trust. There are sufficient funds for the Trust to continue until the end of the summer and grant applications have been made to the URC, West Hill Trust and Lichfield City Council. An approach has also been received from South Staffordshire

5. LENS. The Emergency Night Centres have now been operating for just over one month. There has been an average of 3 guests per night. Three rough sleepers have been helped to move on and now have offers of accommodation. Unfortunately the others have said that the shelter does not meet their needs, alluding specifically to the opening and closing times. The situation is now under review and a meeting with the Council has been organised to discuss the way forward.

6. Past Events - The Mystery Plays at the Christmas Fayre were well received by the large numbers of people attending the event. The Christian Aid Vigil went ahead despite the cold, rain and wind and there was significant engagement with those passing by Speakers’ Corner. Caroline Johnson reported that Christmas Day Together was a great success, and the idea of having three people share the co-ordinator’s role worked really well, and what’s more, they are prepared to do it all again next year! The service at Wade Street Church led by Ian Hayter, Rod Clark and Roger Baker as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was well attended. David Clarke also thanked all those who had supported Lichfield Foodbank, where there has been a 65% increase in demand over the last few months.

7. Future Events – Lent Groups will be starting shortly. 75 people have signed up and there will be 8 groups. The books have been ordered. Rob Hilyer has written to the police about The Walk of Witness on Good Friday and has also ordered some new signs for Darnford Lane. Stefan Smart has been booked to perform ‘I am Mark’ at Lichfield Cathedral at 7.30 p.m. on Good Friday and it is hoped that this will be well supported. A pitch has been booked at Lichfield Bower and Wade Street have agreed to lend us a marquee. A planning group will meet shortly.

8. Any other business – Roger Hartley reminded everyone that a volunteer is still required to assist with the running of a furniture warehouse for Michael Lowes and Associated Charities. A request has already been sent to Waitrose for a donation towards Christmas Day Together for next year but it was decided not necessary to request one form Lichfield City Council. It was also proposed to donate £300 to Wade Street Church in respect of providing a venue for Christmas Day Together. This was proposed by Brian Maguire, seconded by Richard Henshaw and passed unanimously,

The Annual General Meeting will be on Wednesday 17th June at 7.30 p.m. at College Hall

The meeting closed at 20.50 with all saying The Grace.



Page last updated: 26th September 2020 11:36 AM