Annual Report 2021

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.

Up until May, the parish was in the Deanery of Oldham West. From June, the parish has been in the Deanery of Oldham and Ashton, in the Diocese of Manchester.

The parish forms part of the United Benefice of Oldham and Werneth.

It forms part of a Mission Partnership with the parish of St. Thomas, Werneth.

It was part of a Mission Unit with St. Thomas, Werneth, Holy Trinity, Coldhurst, St Stephen & All Martyrs, Oldham, and Oldham Parish Church until November.

From November it has been part of a Mission Community with the above parishes, and also St. John, Failsworth, Christ Church, Chadderton, and St. Mary, Balderstone.

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.

A number of new homes have been built in the parish.

In the Index of Multiple Deprivation, the parish straddles 6 LSOAs. A "Lower Super Output Area" is the smallest geographical unit for which demographic data is produced. Oldham 024B is ranked 1,003, and Oldham O29A is ranked 321 out of 32,844 LSOAs across the country. In the 3% and 1% most deprived, respectively. The immediate area around St. Paul's, and the top end of Hathershaw, respectively.

There is a mix of religious and ethnic communities in the parish: British, Asian, African and European. The parish also plays host to a Romanian Roma Church, 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

During the recent revision of the Roll 6 names were removed and 4 names added making the total this year 67.

Jill Platt

PCC Membership

Vicar: Revd. Nick Andrewes (Chair)
Curate: Revd. Cath Hewison
Churchwardens: vacant
Deanery Synod Representatives: Colin Platt, Megan Locklin, vacant
(2 years to serve):
Lita Zolmane-Dzeksone
(1 year to serve):
Barbara Allison, Norah Baxendale, Auriel Hopkinson, Andrea Marshall
(0 year to serve):
Jane McColgan, Pam McKay, Lynne Street (Secretary) (Treasurer)
Safeguarding Officer: Carol Vaudrey (to November)
Andrea Marshall (from November)
Independent Examiner: Danny Stone

Church Attendance

No attendance is currently recorded for 2020 because services were alternating with St. Thomas' Church, and the data would not help in determining a trend. This was because of the global pandemic (Covid-19) and the aftermath.

YEAR 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
aged 16 and over (including baptisms) 27 - 43 45 53 62 54
aged 16 and over (who attend less than 12 times per year) 7 - 7 12 17 14 6
aged 16 and over (who attend more than 12 times per year) 20 - 38 41 45 38 40
aged 16 and under 8 - 16 15 19 18 10

Vicar's Report

Our difficult journey forward, individually and as a church community, has continued during 2021. And we have tried to move forward despite so much challenge and uncertainty caused by Covid-19 and its variants.

Obviously the changes and challenges of Covid-19 have caused some fundamental changes to church life, and restructuring and rebuilding core parish activities (e.g. music, rotas, financial management, distribution of communion) has continued to take time and energy.

It has been important, despite all the changes that Covid-19 has brought, that we keep our identity as a church - or at least develop a new identity that is consistent with the old. We now have a new and consistent pattern of music at our Sunday Services, which people seem to appreciate - and of course we continue to offer online services. The "plumbing" which has been set up for the online services is now making it easier to update with new services as we go forward.

Our church attendance is down nearly 40% from before Covid-19, as the attendance figures show. This is slightly lower than the national average. To some extent, people are coming to church less often than they did before. But it has also been nice to welcome newer members into the church.

Sadly, our social and community engagement has also suffered due to Covid-19: we have hosted fewer activities in the Community Room. We need to develop strategies to re-engage in this area, but there are signs that things are beginning to return to life.

It's been good to see Stitch and Share, Pop In, and Guides restart their activities with renewed energy and interest. At the time of writing, the Roma church has returned on a Sunday afternoon. It's been good to be able, again, to take Holy Communion to people in their homes, and to local nursing homes. It's been good finally to complete the work on the railings on the North side of the church. And it's been encouraging to have a team gather together to work on the church grounds. And of course it's been good to replace the fluorescent tubes in the Community Room with LEDs, which give a better light, are cheaper to run, reduce our Carbon footprint, and need to be replaced less often. It's good to see the developing relationship between St. Paul's and St. Thomas' slowly but surely working more closely together. Many volunteers got involved in "Experience Christmas" at St. Thomas'

Revd. Cath Hewison has contributed much to church life over the year: not least in her firm grasp of ever evolving guidelines and regulations relating to Covid-19, in developing the Women's Group, and enriching our services. We continue to be grateful to Revd. Judith Ware for her presence in parish life. It has been lovely to see the flourishing of a great diversity of ministries in the parish: with 5 ALMs, Richard's placement with us as he explored a vocation to Ordained Ministry. This diversity of ministries and gifts is becoming a distinctive and positive feature of parish life.

I am grateful for so many who have sought to move church life foward over the year. . .

Faced with the costs of repairing the roof, many of you will know that we are have doing some soul-searching during Lent in order to discern who we are as St. Paul's Church in Hathershaw, and how best we can serve the local community.

Many challenges lie ahead, and in particular we have financial challenges. . .

I would like to draw your attention to changes that are happening in the Deanery. The Deanery of Oldham and Ashton came into existence on 1 June: Oldham West Deanery is no more. Furthermore, our "Mission Unit" no longer exists, but has become part of a new "Mission Community" with the addition of Christchurch Chadderton and St. Mary Balderstone. The plan is for us to begin to work more closely together over the coming years. As with our developing relationship with St. Thomas', it is my hope that change will be gradual: evolution, rather than revolution. The first task is to build on what we are already doing together as parishes, and then to see what we can easily do to enhance parish life.

Once again, I would like to thank you all for your continued support, your commitment and your courage over the last 12 months. I am confident that, together and by the grace of God, we can continue to move forward, renewed in faith, hope and love.

Revd. Nick Andrewes

Secretary's Report

During 2021 we managed 9 PCC meetings, all of which was on Zoom. In most cases all members of the PCC managed to attend the meetings. Two of these meeting was chaired by Cath, the remainder by Nick. A major part of the discussions has been around church covid restrictions, congregation numbers, the deterioration of the building and to find ways forward to keep St Pauls as a prominent and active church on Ashton Road.

There were 10 members of the PCC plus Cath Hewison.

The APCM was held on the 23rd May 2021, 13 people attended the Zoom online meeting.

Lynne Street

Child Protection Report

After many years of service, Carol Vaudrey has retired as CP Officer for St Paul’s and I have taken on the responsibility from January 2022.

There have been no reported incidents, the register for DBS checks has been reviewed and updated and DBS certificates for people with new responsibilities in church and Sunday School are in the process of being applied for.

Andrea Marshall

Health & Safety Report

Another unusual year as we managed Covid security requirements. With lockdowns and changes in Government requirements, the Covid risk assessment team continued to review security arrangements for Church. Control measures changed very little as wearing of masks, use of hand sanitiser and 2-metre distancing have become accepted as being necessary in protecting members of the congregation.

We have now been able to start using the meeting room again, with most people still wearing masks unless eating or drinking.

Where members of the congregation may have come into contact with people who have reported a positive Covid-19 test result, this has been communicated to those involved.

Covid security control measures will continue to be reviewed as we, hopefully, move out of the pandemic.

Church safety inspections have been completed throughout the year. Liability insurance has been maintained and fire equipment services have been completed. The requirement for periodic portable appliance testing is being addressed.

May I take this opportunity to thank the congregation for following the Covid secure guidelines and the arrangements which are in place to keep us all safe.

Neil Marshall
Health & Safety Officer

Treasurer's Report

Who would have thought that Covid would still be with us throughout the year?

Although our church was open for a good portion of the year, congregation numbers were low, we still couldn’t hire out the community room and of course, no shop income.

So, let us dwell on the positives, we paid our Parish Share in full, we give thanks to the people who managed to continue their planned giving each month. A special thank you to the people who were able to make a one-off donation to support us during the year.

Thanks also to Nick and Cath who applied and were awarded grants for some of our expenditure.

We were also able to raise funds for Christian Aid and Unicef.

We approach 2022 with hope, especially for our church building and in prayer for guidance to make the right decisions for our church.

Lynne Street

PCC Reserves 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 work of volunteers and organisers of the Parish Second Hand Shop; and for the work of those who make the Community Room available to the Community. Both of these bring significant income into the parish. However the parish is also realistic about the potential risks associated with its dependence on these forms 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 (£100,000). 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 of annual payments, at current levels this roughly equates to £18,400

Planned Giving & Gift Aid

Planned Giving: Weekly Envelopes

During the pandemic the Planned Giving envelope scheme has not been as successful as in years gone by as fewer people have not been able to attend church. Since we have returned to weekly Sunday worship, very few envelopes are being used. A review will take place as to whether we continue with the envelope scheme into the future.

Planned Giving: Direct into the bank account

At the Start of 2021 there were 28 people donating by monthly direct debit into our bank account. By the end of 2021 there were 29 people donating via the bank. During the year 2 donors moved from the weekly envelope scheme to donating via the bank.

Gift Aid recovered from the HMRC was £5327.31. This was on donations given by people who pay income tax.


2021 was as challenging as the previous year, something no one expected. We are thankful to those people who were 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

Regrettably, COVID restrictions have limited the level of pastoral care we have been able to provide.

Sincere thanks to those volunteers who have maintained regular contact, by phone, emails etc., with the people who make up our church community.

Care Home visits have resumed, with Nick and Cath, alternately, offering a Service of Holy Communion , across both the parish of St Paul and the parish of St Thomas , each Tuesday of the month.

  • The Coppice
  • Park Hills
  • Tree Tops
  • Chamber Mount

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

We hope 'normal service' will resume as soon as possible.

Thanks to Norah Baxendale for her support with funerals and visiting.

Megan Locklin

Social Committee

Obviously there have been no social gatherings for the last 2 years so now is the time to make up for that.

Although a coffee morning did take place in December, where we could buy Auriel’s Christmas cakes and chutneys. And of course the obligatory raffle.

Restrictions permitting, we look to next year with hope of holding our regular events.

Unfortunately we won't have Adrienne with us this year, we send our thanks to her for the contributions she made and wish her all the best in the future.

Help at all our events is gratefully received and if you have a new idea, do feel free to go ahead and organise it.

Here's to a varied, interesting and happy programme of events.

Barbara Allison

Deanery Synod

The Oldham West Deanery Synod came to an end under the leadership of Rev Nick Andrewes mid way through 2021.

A new deanery the Oldham and Ashton Deanery came into being with a full time paid Area Dean Revd. Daniel Ramble.

Items for discussion were: Confidence to share our faith, To be an outward facing church visible in the community, to focus on mission and ministry, to be a growing church, and a focus on Mission Communities.

Mission Communities would enable churches to work together for the benefit of all members of the community. This would be ongoing over the next few years.

Colin Platt

Sunday School

From January to Easter, Sunday School continued to meet through Zoom. To enable biblical based craft activities to take place, resource packs continued to be delivered to families from both St Paul’s and St Thomas’ churches. We had an adventurous time exploring the wonders of the book of Revelation.

Coming back into church each child was given a sketchbook (with pencils, pastels and pens). Every Saturday an email was sent to all families with suggestions of reflection on the Gospel or Old Testament reading. Children’s drawings and words were shared with the congregation towards the end of the service.

From September families were keen to get back to face to face Sunday school. However we are fewer in numbers at around on average six children with some older children attending the main service.

A Family Worship and Beyond grant was awarded to St Paul's and St Thomas’ children and families. This fund has supported a Puppet Performance skills workshop held in November and acquiring a range of puppets. Unfortunately in December the Puppet Choir only performed at St Thomas’ due to some families (and puppets!) going down with Covid.

Many thanks for the support that Amy, Lita and Natalie give to the Sunday School.

Gina Andrewes & Amy Holt

Community Room

The community room has pretty much been out of action due to Covid-19. However, we are pleased to see activity is returning: Pop In, Stitch & Share, Guides, and, as of March, Bethel Church.

We have made some improvements to the Room over the year - e.g. we have replaced the fluorescent tubes with LEDs.

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

Nick Andrewes


Unfortunately the Choir has not been able to lead the singing during services in the last year.

It is hoped that in the coming year we will be able to sing without masks and return to singing our more traditional hymns and perhaps some of the more modern hymns we have heard during services in 2021.

Colin Platt

Pop In

2020 began as usual for the group when we returned after the Christmas break.

In March, however, we had to suspend the meetings due to the spread of Coronavirus.

We reopened at the end of September, when the number attending was very low.

I am pleased to report that since then we have welcomed several new members and are looking forward to the coming months.

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.

Jill Platt

Eco Church Report

We are continuing to use the Eco Church Audit which is an online survey which asks us how we care for God’s earth. Recent adjustments have been made in:

  • Worship and teaching: Continuing to build on our Creationtide liturgy. Sunday school presented their reflections on harvest and how we look after our Common Home (or not) in the lead up to COP 26.
  • Buildings: Almost all of the church lighting is now LED. Recycling continues to be encouraged and much support is given clearing the gardens of the litter and recycling appropriately.
  • Land: The Garden Working Group has continued to meet and the front community garden has been given a make over and cut back. Also the planting of bulbs around trees on front grass area.
  • Community: Making links with passers by whilst working in the gardens. I attend the Hathershaw Community Group which primarily is addressing the litter and fly tipping in the area through education, litter picks and partnership working with Oldham Council.

With the work and adjustments made in recent years St Paul’s is now ready to apply for the Eco Church Bronze award.

Gina Andrewes

Stitch & Share

The themes of the year were support, recovery and return.

Support: In the same format as last year we met as a support group, socially distanced, in the community room, in March and June.

Recovery: It was more realistic to pool our resources together and focus on the one site at St Pauls. And to hold the group just in the morning.

Return: We were building confidence to attend and start sewing and sharing skills together again. We had 8 to 13 members engaging, including 2 new members.

Resources 0.00
Room Hire 1,190.00
Tutor 0.00
TOTAL 0.00 TOTAL 1,190.00
Balance at 1 / 1 / 21: 2,617.62 Balance at 31 / 12 / 21: 1,427.62
DEFICIT 1,190.00

Gina Andrewes & Auriel Hopkinson

Unit Report: 10th Oldham St Paul’s Guides

This year has again been different to most, especially in Guiding terms. We have continued to meet with the Guides from St Paul's Royton over Zoom every two weeks. We have completed a number of skills builders, challenges, crafts and played lots of games.

In April we joined the Division Sleepover on Zoom. Over the weekend we made chocolate nests, s'mores, pizza and armpit fudge. We decorated masks & eggs, played bingo and even managed a virual campfire. It was so nice to see all the girls throughly enjoying themselves!

By the end of September it seemed that a little bit of normality was being restored and we finally started to meet back face to face. Unfortunately we lost a few girls as they didn't want to meet on zoom so our numbers are low again.

We were very lucky to get some apples from the vicarge garden so we made apple flapjack and apple and blackberry traybake mmmmmm!

After half term we had a bonfire night party. The Guides created fake wounds on their arms which looked that realistic one younger brother thought the Guide had really hurt herself whilst carving a pepper! They also made bonfire biscuits and played charades.

We ended the year by going to Oldham Coliseum to watch Aladdin where a brilliant night was had by all!

Hayley Cowling

Unit Report: 12th Oldham St Paul’s Scouts

Covid (and people's fears of it) have had a drastic effect on our Scouting at St Paul's. One month we're fine the next a full lockdown for no good reason. This has changed the mindset of a lot of people and allowed them to reflect on their own lives. With Respect to Scouting, Warren and I have soldiered on, but with Warren now working shift patterns in Manchester it has come to the point where we seriously need to either recruit new adult parent leaders, fold or try to amalgamate with a stronger group such as St Margaret's.

The first option would be the preferred option, the second untenable and the third a possibility unless we get help. To make this worthwhile we would need at least two committed adults and another two parent helpers ideally.

I would hope all our parishioner would look into their hearts and consider a role in scouting. I myself started scouting over ten years ago to ensure there was a scout troop for my own son, and have had the pleasure of watching a number of boys grow to be men. Without volunteer helpers / leaders then it becomes increasing difficult to run a viable group. Please can I ask that there is an expression of interest request to the congregation and I can then set up a suitable recruiting evening.

The Scouts do recruit girls as well as boys, however we must take into account we have Guides at St. Paul's.

Phil Howarth