19 January 2015, The Tablet

Westminster diocese's fundraiser nets £37 million

A fund-raising campaign by the Archdiocese of Westminster has raised almost £40 million in gifts and pledges.

Completed at the end of last year, the campaign was run under the title “Growing in Faith” by the American fund-raising specialists, Community Counselling Services, or CCS. It raised £37 million, for which it charged the archdiocese £2.5m in fees, according to its latest accounts.

The fund-raiser, which at times faced opposition from both priests and parishioners, encouraged around 19,000 households to give or pledge money.

The Archdiocese of Westminster says the funds have enabled 268 parish projects to get off the ground and they have helped launch Caritas Westminster, the social action arm of the archdiocese, including the purchase of Bakhita House, a centre for women victims of human trafficking.

A large part of the money raised will also help fund the training of 32 Westminster seminarians and the retirement of priests. The number of clergy reaching retirement age is set to increase rapidly in the coming years and in 2012 the archdiocese estimated that the shortfall in this area would be £1.5m for each of the next 20 years.

Latest accounts for the Archdiocese of Westminster show an income of £44m– a rise of £4m from 2012/13 accounts – and expenditure of £37m. The £2.5m cost for the fund-raising campaign has been met from the archdiocese’s general reserves.

“Growing in Faith” has been rolled out in parishes over a period of two years and has encouraged people to increase the amount they give to their parish.

CCS has also worked on fund-raising campaigns for the dioceses of Portsmouth and Northampton, and the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

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