Annual Report 2023

Administrative Information

St. Paul's church is situated at the corner of Broadway Street and Ashton Road, Hathershaw, Oldham. The correspondence address is St. Paul’s Vicarage, 55 Belgrave Road, Oldham OL8 1LU.

The parish is in the Deanery of Oldham and Ashton, and the Diocese of Manchester.

The parish is part of:

  • a United Benefice of Oldham and Werneth.
  • a Mission Partnership with the parish of St. Thomas, Werneth.
  • a Mission Community with the parishes below.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is a charity excepted from registration with the Charity Commission.

The Parish Bank Account is with HSBC. The Insurers of the Parish are EIG.

PCC Object

The Parochial Church Council has the responsibility, according to law:

To cooperate with the minister in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the church, pastoral, evangelistic, social, and ecumenical.

The Parish

The parish contains a variety of property which includes owner occupier, rented, council houses, apartments and sheltered housing. There are terraced houses, a legacy of the cotton industry, and a mix of semi and detached houses.

Deprivation

The population of the parish is 11590.
It ranks 452 out of 12382 parishes for overall deprivation, where 1 is the most deprived parish.
It is among the 3.65% most deprived parishes in England.

The parish is straddles 7 "Lower Super Output Areas".

A "Lower Super Output Area" is the smallest geographical unit for which demographic data is produced:

LSOAarearank out of 32,844 LSOAs in England
2019
rank out of 32,844 LSOAs in England
2015
Oldham 024BN. end of parish,
along Ashton Road,
up into town centre.
5561,003
Oldham 024C 
around Copster Hill Road
but mainly towards Coppice
 
6,6438,389
Oldham O29AE. side of Ashton Road below St. Paul's
as far as Park Cake bakery
and behind.
191321
Oldham 029D 
N. end of Fitton Hill
up to Thatcher St.
 
407426
0ldham 029EN. and S. of E. end of Hollins Road4,5525,927
Oldham 030E 
N. and S. of Hollins Road
mainly Garden Suburb
 
11,23614,111
Oldham 035ACoppice
S. of Chamber Road
4,6537,006

We make the following observations:

  • These LSOAs are in the 0.6%, 1.25%, 1.7%, 13.9%, 14.2%, and 20.25%, and 34.25% most deprived LSOAs in the country.
  • While there are some areas of relative affluence, many who live in the parish are extremely deprived, when a national comparison is made.
  • The immediate area around St. Paul's, and the top end of Hathershaw, respectively are the extremely deprived.
  • All the LSOAs in the parish have become more deprived, many of them quite significantly, relative to the national average, over the last five years (2015-2019).

Diversity

There is a mix of religious and ethnic communities in the parish: British, Asian, African and European. The parish also plays host to Romanian Roma Churches, a Spiritualist Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Mormon Temple, two Hindu Temples and several Mosques.

There are a number of schools in the Parish: Coppice and Broadfield (Primary); Hulme Grammar; and the Hathershaw College.

PCC Structure & Governance

The method of appointment of PCC members is broadly as set out in the Church Representation Rules, with one exception: Church Wardens may be elected for an unlimited number of consecutive periods of office. The Hon. Assistant Priest is also an ex-officio member of the PCC.

Thus the PCC currently consists of 9 elected members, depending on numbers on the Electoral Roll: 3 each year. In addition, there are ex officio members: 3 Deanery Synod Representatives; 2 Church Wardens, the Vicar, the Assistant Curate, and the Hon. Assistant Priest.

All who attend Church are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and stand for election to the PCC.

Electoral Roll Officer's Report

Following the recent revision of the electoral roll there are now 66 names on the roll.

A copy of the roll (names only) can be found on the notice board in the porch.

Jill Platt

PCC Membership

Vicar:Revd. Nick Andrewes (Chair)
Curates:Revd. Zahra Shafiei (from July)
Revd. Darren Quinlan (from August)
Churchwardens:vacant, vacant
Deanery Synod Representatives:Colin Platt, vacant
PCC MEMBERS:
(2 years to serve):
Auriel Hopkinson, Andrea Marshall, Carol Vaudrey, Megan Locklin
PCC MEMBERS:
(1 year to serve):
Norah Baxendale, Jane McColgan, Lynne Street (Secretary) (Treasurer)
PCC MEMBERS
(0 years to serve):
Lita Zolmane-Dzeksone, vacant
Safeguarding Officer:Andrea Marshall
Independent Examiner:Danny Stone
  • With over 50, but fewer than 100 members on the Electoral Roll, we elect 3 PCC members for a term of office of 3 years at each APCM.
  • PCC members (except for Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary) cannot stand for a year after their 3 year term of office is completed unless there are no other candidates.

October Church Attendance

YEAR2023202220212020201920182017
aged 16 and over (including baptisms)535827-434553
aged 16 and over (who attend less than 12 times per year)28357-8711
aged 16 and over (who attend more than 12 times per year)252320-353842
aged 16 and under6138-161519

Due to difficulties in collecting data during the COVID-19 pandemic, no attendance data was collected for October 2019 across the Diocese.

(Addendum: please note that these figures are the figures from our October Attendance Census, but rounded to the nearest whole number.)

Vicar's Report

This last year has been one of transition, steady rebuilding and looking forward.

It's been encouraging to see the congregation grow in numbers, steadily and consistently, since Covid-19. It's encouraging to see lots of new faces on Sunday mornings, along with many of the less new ones!

On the clergy team, we welcomed Revd. Zahra Shafiei as curate in July 2023; and Revd. Darren Quinlan in August 2023. In their different ways, they each add a lot to parish life. We continue to be grateful to Revd. Judith Ware for conducting occasional services. And we look forward to Richard's ordination as Deacon at the end of June 2024.

We continue to enjoy the ministry of our different Authorised Lay Ministers, who all bring their different gifts to enrich our life as a parish: Megan (organising our ministry to Nursing Homes, and the housebound), Norah (supporting at funerals and afterwards), Colin and Auriel (leading public worship), and Gina (Ecology and Creation, and Children). Training is offered each year by the Diocese, and we hope our team of Authorised Lay Ministers will grow!

Our Sunday worship style has continued to evolve, and we are now developing the confidence to start singing hymns without the digital choir. We hope now to have a consistent solution for playing music on a Sunday morning. It's lovely to have so many young children in the congregation at the moment!

I believe the relationships within our Mission Community are growing stronger, though we know that changes are likely to happen in 2024. In the national press, and in the church press, there is much controversy about the future of the Parish System. There is the "Save the Parish" campaign which imagines there are forces at work conspiring against the Parish System. However, through the Mission Community - through our relationships with local parishes - we are seeking to find support and develop synergies that will enable us to be better parishes: to learn from each other, to grow together, to do things together that we couldn't do on our own. We recognise that it takes time to develop fruitful relationships of trust and support, and this is what we hope and pray will happen. It's not something that we can force or rush, but, is somewhat like our relationship with St. Thomas, Werneth: In time, I believe that we've come to value each other for our differences, embracing each other as pilgrims on the journey, rather than regarding each other with suspicion and fear. We look forward to seeing how our offering for Children and Young People will develop with the support of Laura Tebay.

While many things are positive, there are challenges ahead:

Financial Challenges The parish is short of money! And this shows, particularly, in the fact that we cannot meet our Parish Share in full. The Parish Share equates to the cost of clergy, and the principal cost of running the Diocese, shared out between the different parishes according to size of congregation, and ability to pay. Having prided ourselves before Covid-19 in paying our Parish Share every year, in 2023 we were only able to pay £11,864.27 out of the requested £24,786.00 - just under 48% Of course, were we actually obliged to meet the actual running costs of the parish, we would have gone bankrupt! While the Diocese does meet the difference, this is not sustainable in the long term. The deficit works out at approximately £2.50 per week per church member. Please speak to Lynne Street if you would like to join the parish giving scheme.

Volunteer Challenges The parish has not yet regained its volunteers since the Covid-19 lockdowns. We do not have enough Sidespeople to welcome people to church. We always encourage anyone who would like to read in church to do so. We would love to be able to run Social Events as we used to. These are really important for giving us opportunity to get to know each other, and to grow as a parish community. In the same vein, do consider volunteering to serve on the PCC. It's been great to see new members over the last few years. But we do seek to be representative of the whole congregation. . .

The Church building We know that we have significant, long-term problems with our church roof, and are putting together a plan to move forward, so that in time we can address these. We hope soon to be engaging the architect to help us move forward with building alterations, after taking time over a thorough process of consultation. It's encouraging that we have found a reasonably clear consensus about the way forward.

Finally, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to you all for all that you bring to the life of the church, and for all that you are going to bring to it (and probably don't know it yet!) and, once again, to express the continued joy and privilege of being Vicar here at St. Paul's, after nearly 14 years!

Revd. Nick Andrewes

PCC Secretary's Report

During 2023 we held 7 PCC meetings, all of which were on Zoom. The meetings were well attended and Nick chaired all the meetings.

There are 9 members of the PCC.

The main topic during the year was the re-order of the building. In June there was the Archdeacon's Visitation, where we discussed the challenges and opportunities within our Parish. We were also joined by Councillor Shaid Mushtaq who gave an insight into the work the Council carry out in the area.

The APCM was held on the 2nd April 2023, 16 people attended the meeting.

Lynne Street

Child Protection Report

There have been no reported incidents this year. Several DBS certificates are in the process of being renewed. 1 new DBS has been approved.

I am looking into the possibility of some on-line safeguarding training for DBS holders to keep us in line with Diocesan requirements.

Andrea Marshall

Health & Safety Report

The health and safety policy has been reviewed and remains in place – copy on display on the porch noticeboard.

Informal safety inspections have been completed throughout the year. Liability insurance has been maintained and fire equipment has been serviced.

One health & safety incident was reported during the year, relating to a slip and fall outside the kitchen door. Please make sure that any accidents are reported so that corrective actions can be taken.

If anyone has any suggestions for improvement relating to health & safety arrangements, please don’t hesitate to come forward.

Neil Marshall
Health & Safety Officer

Treasurer's Report

The major factor for us all this year has been energy prices and costs in general, our church is no exception.

As you can see from the accounts, the insurance, gas, electric and water costs totalled £15,363. for the year. Which is 42.75% of our expenditure. Thankfully there has been a marked reduction in our gas charges towards the end of the year.

The PCC made the decision not to pay the full Parish Share this year to enable us to have the ceiling repaired. We also had a new microphone system installed and some necessary work to the outside of the building. The results of our year end accounts show that this was the right decision.

The vicar’s costs we share with St Thomas’s, this was reviewed and agreed to be kept on the basis of Parish Share.

We made charitable donations to the Children’s Society £120.00, Inner Wheel £130.00 and Unicef £260.00.

Thank you to the people who manage to continue their planned giving donations. Anyone interested in making regular monthly donations via the bank, please have a word with me.

2024 is looking brighter, we have much to be thankful for and pray for God’s guidance in making the right decisions for our church.

Lynne Street

PCC Reserves Policy and PCC Parish Share Policy

  • The Parish acknowledges the principles of Jesus’ teachings, and also of good governance: that money should only be kept in reserve for specific purposes, or spent, to further the objects of the PCC—not hoarded for a rainy day. These objects are listed above.
  • The Parish identifies particular risks in its situation. The Parish is grateful for the work of those who make the Community Room available to the Community. This brings significant income into the parish. However the parish is also realistic about the potential risks associated with its dependence on this form of income.
  • The Parish recognises that there is also a considerable backlog of building work that needs to be undertaken. Immediate priorities were indicated in the Quinquennial Inspection Report (2018). The most significant of these is the need to make provision for re-roofing the church (£300,000). In addition to this a number of smaller and larger improvements and repairs are needed to improve the fabric of church and community room.
  • Therefore the Parish aims for its level of reserves to approximately match 4 months' payments from the General Fund for the previous year. For 2024 this figure is approximately £13,150.
  • The Parish will prioritise the following payments:
    1. normal parish running costs;
    2. essential maintenance;
    3. expenditure that will save money or volunteer time in the long term;
    4. as much Parish Share as possible to leave 4 months of annual Current Account payments in reserve.
  • In 2023, the essential maintenance included removing damp plaster around the Chancel Arch, and in the Chancel above the Organ; and replastering the latter. In addition we commissioned the installation of a Heatmiser boiler control system to enable more accurate (and remote) control of the heating system. This will lead to reductions in cost, carbon footprint, and time spent managing the heating. This work was eventually completed in January 2024.

Planned Giving & Gift Aid

Planned Giving: Direct into the bank account

At the Start of 2023 there were 28 people donating by monthly donation into our bank account. This is two less than the end of 2022 as two donations stopped in January due to cost of living. Two people were unable to continue with monthly donations for the same reason during 2023, therefore at the end of 2023 we had 26 people donating via the bank.

Gift Aid recovered from the HMRC was £ 4364.00. This was on donations given by people who pay income tax and allow us to reclaim the tax they have paid from the HMRC.

Summary

We are thankful to those people who are able to continue to support us via the planned giving scheme and to those people who have been in the position to make one-off donations.

Lynne Street

Pastoral Care

Care Home visits take place, with Nick, Zahra and Darren, at different Nursing Homes offering a Service of Holy Communion across both the parish of St Paul and the parish of St Thomas, and also cover at nursing homes in the Parishes of St. John, Hey, and St. Mark, Glodwick, where congregation members live:

  • The Coppice
  • Park Hills
  • Tree Tops
  • Chamber Mount
  • Park House
  • Oakdene Care Home

Likewise, Holy Communion at home is available, to those unable to attend a service in church due to infirmity.

Thanks to Norah and Darren for her support with funerals and after care; and to all who maintain regular contact with those who can no longer come to church.

Megan Locklin

Social Committee

We do not have an active Social Committee at the moment.

Our monthly coffee mornings, held on the first Saturday of the month, are well attended. We still hope for non-members of St Paul’s to drop in but not many have responded to the invite. The December coffee morning was a small scale Christmas Fair. There was a huge raffle, win a Christmas Cake, cake and chutney stall. Our Stitch and Share group had a craft stall and the Guides had lots of things on sale.

Anyone wishing to join the rota to run one of these mornings will be made very welcome.

If you have any good ideas for a social event, or want to be involved, please sign up to get the committee back off the ground.

Lynne Street

Deanery Synod

Oldham and Ashton Deanery Synod met in February, July, and October of 2023.

Topics discussed included:

  • Social Action through “Growing Good”,
  • Deanery Mission Action Planning,
  • Working with Manchester Diocesan Board of Education to build strong relationships between our Churches and Schools,
  • Safeguarding,
  • regular updates on clergy vacancies and
  • Eco Church

    Colin Platt

Sunday School

During 2023 Sunday school has had a core group of 15 children. Some older children attend the main service. The range of attendance to a Sunday school session can range from 2 to 17. There is an element of unpredictability. We continue to be a much younger group with age range between 3 to 10 years (average age of 5 years) with some younger siblings joining too with their parents.

As a smaller group we have been getting to know each other more through games, listening and acting out stories from the bible and crafting activities.

The Sunday school always like to share what they have learnt to the main congregation in the notices and enjoyed performing a nativity song through sign actions.

We are looking for another Sunday School leader to strengthen our team!

Many thanks for the support from all families that attend.

Gina Andrewes, Amy Holt & Natalie Wiseman

Community Room

Use of the community room has steadily increased this year. It's good to have Pop In, Stitch & Share, Guides, Bethel Church regularly using the space. Of course, the Community Room is also used for Voting. At time of writing, the Community Room is also used by a group providing training for Boston House staff.

Thanks to those who have supported making this space available for the community.

Nick Andrewes

Choir

The choir is now leading the singing at Holy Communion.

Although small in numbers it is thought that the music input adds to the worship.

New members would be welcome and if you are interested please speak to any member of the choir or a Worship leader.

Colin Platt

Pop In

The last year brought a mixture of joy and sadness to those of us who organise the meetings of the Pop In and to our members.

We celebrated our 25th anniversary with an Afternoon Tea, which was much enjoyed by everyone who came.

The coronation was an excuse for another party, this one with a red, white and blue colour scheme. Later in the year we ventured once more into Saddleworth to enjoy a meal at The Old Bell Inn which was once visited by one of King Charles ancestors, Queen Victoria.

December brought the usual Christmas party and festive activities.

The most usual activities continue week by week, quizzes, name games and the chance to sit round a table and enjoy each other’s company and would welcome anyone who would join us on Tuesday afternoons.

It was with great sorrow that we heard that one of our founder members had passed away and is much missed by us all.

Eileen Cooper

Church Flowers

May I say a big thankyou to those who give so generously during the year towards the floral displays in church often in memory of loved ones or for special occasions such as Easter, Harvest and Christmas. During Lent and Advent we continue to observe the tradition of no flowers in church. If you would like to have flowers in church in someone’s memory or for a special family celebration, please put your name on the flower rota, on the notice board, next to the Sunday of your choice.

Many thanks also to the flower girls, Andrea, Eileen and Margaret who create such lovely displays throughout the year.

Thank you.

Jill Platt

Eco Church Report

After St. Paul's was awarded the Bronze Eco-Church Certificate last year, this year has been a year of consolidation.

Bronze Eco Church Certificate

The PCC has committed to reducing the Parish's carbon footprint year on year by 10% - using the 2022 figure (15.5 net tonnes), below, as a baseline.

It wonderful to see the improvements to the church grounds. Thanks to everyone, but particularly to Hayley and Jane. Thanks also to those who collect and recycle the rubbish left in the grounds.

It's also great to see people giving each other lifts to church; and to see the PCC taking place on Zoom. All these things reduce our carbon footprint!

We have completed the Energy Footprint Tool:

Energy Footprint Tool Result
  • We have reduced our Net CO2 emissions by 1 tonne (6.5%), by switching to a green electricity supplier.
  • We planned to install devices to all an app to control the gas heating system during 2023, but this was in fact installed in February 2024. We have yet to see the difference this has made to our CO2 footprint and our running costs.

We are continuing to use the Eco Church Audit which is an online survey which asks us how we care for God’s earth. We are currently at the following levels:

  • Worship and teaching: GOLD
  • Buildings: BRONZE
  • Land: BRONZE
  • Community: BRONZE
  • Lifestyle: BRONZE

This year we offered an online energy footprint toolkit, and a communal Christmas Card, to the congregation, to encourage us all to look at their carbon footprint as individuals.

The PCC continues to consider the next steps in each of these areas over the coming year. For the sake of our Common Home, we need to continue to strive to reduce our negative impact on the planet.

Gina Andrewes

Stitch & Share

Stitch & Share continues to meet on Wednesdays 10am to 1pm. In 2023 we had a consistent core group of 15 members with an average attendance of 15 people per session. Across the year 41 people have accessed the group. We have a diversity of cultures attending for example from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigerian, Iran, Afghanistan, Romania and white English.

Our main activities have been making garments from patterns, garment alterations and mending. Donated fabrics are made into cushions, aprons, soft toys, curtains and bags. In addition embroidery, crochet and knitting also take place. The skills base of this group is high with specific talents shared amongst the group.

The group expenses are kept to a minimum through making good use of resource donations. We were awarded a grant from the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation. This enabled us to put on two summer holiday workshops in August and pay the cost of room hire.

When attendance is over 20 people we are short of space to set up more machines and tables for cutting out patterns. To manage this we encourage sewists to have a hand sewing project on the go while they wait.

Most importantly the group recognises that not only do we sew and share but we also support, meet and accompany each other through life’s ups and downs.

Accounts

RECEIPTS£     PAYMENTS£     
Donations417.21Room Hire1,330.00
GMCVO Grant1,000.00
TOTAL1,417.21TOTAL1,330.00
Surplus:87.21
Opening Balance
(1 Jan 2023)
796.40Closing Balance
(31 Dec 2022)
883.61

Gina Andrewes & Auriel Hopkinson

Unit Report: 10th Oldham St Paul’s Guides

During our first meeting of the year we made ginger biscuits and chocolate chip muffins and tried to complete the big fat quiz of 2022. We then completed crafts and activities to learn about guides in different countries and the world centres, including playing mancala and world badge beetle, making gods eyes, making and racing cable cars, learning how to tie a friendship knot and a food taste test.

In February & March we made pancakes, designed a division badge and made Korean fans, completed a wordsearch, made scones and learned how to fold napkins for an afternoon tea. We taste tested poppadom’s, dips and spring rolls. For mothers day we made cards, flowers and love bugs. For easter we made chocolate nests, played build an egg and had an egg and spoon race.

We attended a Coronation Event held by Oldham West Guiding at St Annes Royton 13/5/23 where the guides took part in a number of different challenges and games. They visited a planetarium, played games, planted a sunflower, learned a new dance, made bracelets, badges and a kite.

In June we also attended the Guides Taskmaster Day at Springfield Park where the guides undertook a number of tasks to gain points such as, who can throw an egg the highest and catch it?, how long can you keep the flame on a cupcake, can you keep a balloon from touching the flour without touch it with your hands, free the duck, get a guide through an A4 piece of paper, make the best mr potato head, quickest to unlock a box, build the tallest tower to mention a few....

During June & July we started our usual camp practise/training, we practised bedding rolls, gadgets and how to pitch a tent. Our camp wat at Whiteley Woods outdoor activity centre and spent a week sleeping in tents, cooking on an open fire and learning lots of new skills. During the week the guides played lots of games went grass sledging, had a go at Archery, kayaking, fencing, crate challenge and visited a farm.

At the end of October we had a Halloween party with fancy dress and fake wounds.

In November we looked at the Iceland Challenge and learnt lots of new things about the country. Made origami whales, fish weaving, floating fish and played games with an Icelandic theme. Then we started Christmas crafts such as cards, bead stars and boxes. For our last night before the xmas holiday we went bowling.

Hayley Cowling

Church of England Logo
Bronze EcoChurch Award
Diocese of Manchester Logo