Home / Research / Reports

Good Neighbours: How Churches Help Communities Flourish

Good Neighbours: How Churches Help Communities Flourish

In a report for the Church Urban Fund, Paul Bickley argues that churches tackle the relational deficit blighting deprived communities. (2014)

This research project, conducted by Theos for the Church Urban Fund, focuses on the work of churches serving some of the most deprived communities in England. 

The report presents the findings of 12 case studies and hundreds of individual interviews with people from inside and outside of churches. It explores not just what local churches offer, but looks to understand in greater depth how they work and whether they offer something which other institutions don’t or can’t. 

The report argues that, alongside essential material support for vulnerable communities, churches build relationships, social networks and community connections, which are often in short supply.

In his foreword to the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says: This report from Church Urban Fund and Theos demonstrates the scale and nature of that love for neighbour in practical action. It shows that relationships are at the heart of every community, and that churches are at the heart of local communities. Painting a rich and detailed picture of local activity, this report shows how local churches are actively seeking the blessing of those around them and creating spaces where relationships of mutual care and support can flourish.

The full report can be downloaded on the right, and an executive summary can be found here. The ComRes polls data tables can be found here.

Paul Bickley

Paul Bickley

Paul is Head of Political Engagement at Theos. His background is in Parliament and public affairs, and he holds an MLitt from the University of St Andrews’ School of Divinity.

Watch, listen to or read more from Paul Bickley

Church, Communities, Social Action, Welfare


See all

In the news

See all


See all

Get regular email updates on our latest research and events.

Please confirm your subscription in the email we have sent you.

Want to keep up to date with the latest news, reports, blogs and events from Theos? Get updates direct to your inbox once or twice a month.

Thank you for signing up.