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the economy

In Wales also the Churches Tourism Network for Wales does similar work and has an innovative PORTH project which seeks to bring communities to work with local churches in encouraging visitors.

Some recommendations:-

• Visitor and destination managers need to realise the great asset represented in 4200 Grade 1 Church of England churches as well as the fourteen thousand of lower grade out of the total of 27,000 places of worship in England.

• Cathedrals and the top 100 best known churches can do much more to be signposts to other churches in their area. The Lincoln Diocesan Cascade project is a good example of what can be done.

• Churchwardens and others need to learn how to work with other bodies, like the local authority, tourist attractions and not just other churches. While church trails may seem like an obvious idea, few people actually follow the trail, but may ensure the information on any leaflet is a useful guide to planning a visit to an area.

to visitors from near and far. European and regional funding supported some projects. In most places it was the vision and hard work of local people that made more of the church building. The NCTG became the Churches Tourism Association, which last year launched its Sacred Britain project to put churches more clearly ‘on the map’.

• Churches planning literature are well advised to talk to those whose business or attraction may be of interest to visitors to see how collaboration can be to mutual benefit. Research involving over 150 rural churches led to Rural Visitors ( ACORA, 2001), a workbook for any church wanting to take its ministry to visitors seriously. Other useful material can be found in the pages of Open for You (SCM- Canterbury Press 2006) see Country Way issue 44 for a review, and from the Christian Enquiry Agency

Working together locally is what underlies the Arthur Rank Centre project – Hidden Britain. The pilot

Hidden Britain C E N T R E S

project was funded by the Department of Trade and Industry which found it a successful investment in rural regeneration. Each place in our blessed islands is special and unique, with history and heritage, culture and tradition, people and their stories, food and footpaths, buildings and countryside, events and encounters. Even local people need to be helped to experience the variety of attractions in your locality. If your community can bring all this together your place can be a Hidden Britain Centre. See This project is about community and economic development which will benefit everyone. David Long at the Arthur Rank Centre or Jeremy Martineau can advise you on how to get started.

Experience suggests that new jobs can be created through tourism as well as existing key amenities maintained. The local church has an important role in helping strengthen the local economy as part of living out the gospel of Christ. Hidden Britain aims to have 400 locations registered as approved by 2010. With some 35 now in place a surge of interest is bringing many more into being in the near future. Make sure you are part of this.

Jeremy Martineau


church and economy

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