The Churches Trust

The Churches Trust (CT) is an interdenominational organisation established by the leaders of Christian churches to respond to deprivation in the area. CT supports local people in crisis, respecting their dignity at all times, signposting them to services, community groups and other agencies to address circumstances leading to the crisis situations. CT’s work is characterised by two main facets: on the one hand addressing deprivation and social injustice, working with people at the margins of society; and on the other hand empowering churches, schools and communities to stand together with a united voice in an area plagued with the legacy of division through the troubles in Northern Ireland, aiming to create a shared and better future for all.

Mentor: ARC Healthy Living Centre

The Churches Trust applied for the Elevate Community Mentoring & Grants Programme to consolidate their experience from the previous years when they had been part of the Programme.

The organisation’s project included the development and delivery of a pilot resilience programme for young people that addresses issues that emerged as a result of the Covid period and the mental health impact on young people. It also focused on the health inequalities agenda and the development of a Health Inequalities Strategy.

Elevate Mentor, Aidan Ormbsy from ARC Healthy Living Centre, helped the organisation with developing a Health Inequalities Strategy focusing on identifying the purpose and scope of the strategy and how best to present it.


The mentoring was invaluable to Leona from the Churches Trust and helped focus her thinking on what a Health Inequalities Strategy document would look like and frame the work of The Churches Trust into a working document. It was also a new contact for the organisation. Aidan from ARC was able to share his experiences of working and delivering on health inequalities work. He also shared a tool that was developed for resilience building which was very helpful when considering the best method of delivery of the project.

 Elevate enabled the organisation to define CT’s direction in addressing health inequalities with a community development approach and they now have a clear strategic framework and work plan to focus our health inequalities services and activities for the future.  

The six-week programme on resilience for young women whose mental health and wellbeing have been affected by COVID was also delivered as part of the Elevate project. These young women were identified as being particularly vulnerable and in need of additional support.   This pilot programme gave these young women the skills and tools to develop their own resilience based on a framework that provided a combination of inputs to boost their resilience based on three aspects of control – control over themselves, control over their responses to events and control over their responses to other people.  One participant said “I never knew what resilience was – now I understand” and another said “It was really easy to understand – this was the best thing we have done in the last four years.”

After attending the Elevate training, the key learnings within the training were understanding how and why issues such as social justice, the distribution of money, power and resources and education, housing and the environment have a huge impact on our ability to experience the best possible health and wellbeing. This information was shared with other members of the operational team during team meetings on a monthly basis.

“This programme helped us as an organisation to demystify Health Inequalities and helped us as a team focus our efforts on providing equality for all those we work with.” 

 Leona Bradley, The Churches Trust