Deprived Birmingham areas get church mission apprentices

Nine new Mission Apprentices are now ready to head out into some of Birmingham's most deprived Church of England parishes to deliver projects and activities that will make a difference to their communities.

On Sunday, the Mission Apprentices joined friends, family and congregations at St Luke's Great Colmore Street for a commissioning service performed by Rt Rev Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston. They will now take up their roles with parishes in Birmingham – most of which are also among the 10 per cent most deprived in the UK.

The nine new Mission Apprentices at the commissioning service by Bishop Anne Hollinghurst.

Allchurches Trust – funded from the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group and one of the UK's largest grant-making bodies – has provided £200,000 funding for the scheme, which will see this diverse group work on projects including setting up sports ministries, youth services, after school clubs, ministry with young adults and supporting the delivery of dementia-friendly services.

One participant, former builder Ricky Sandiford, said: 'Words cannot describe how excited I am to be involved in the Allchurches Trust Mission Apprentice scheme. This is an amazing opportunity for new church leaders to dip their toe into the calling of ministry, which I thought was beyond me.'

As well as being paid a wage, the Mission Apprentices will benefit from a mentor and a learning and development programme, as well as opportunities to develop their leadership skills and grow in confidence; gaining a wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences along the way.

Peter Mojsa, the trust's grants officer, said: 'The Mission Apprentice scheme is one we are hugely passionate about at Allchurches Trust. The apprentices will have the opportunity to become immersed in the parishes they have been matched with and will be supported to find innovative solutions and deliver activities that address a very real need in the communities they serve. They will also develop their own skills and become even better equipped to make a positive difference to their own lives and the lives of others.'