In April 2020, Simon Holley was stirred with a vision to raise £100,000 in three weeks to support some the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world from the impact of COVID-19. The goal was clear: to provide emergency food and medical aid to those hit hardest by the global pandemic. But as we move into 2021, what’s next?

 
Helping the poor recover their livelihoods from the impact of COVID
 

Amazingly, over the past nine months, God’s faithfulness and the generosity of hundreds of churches and thousands of people saw over £664,000 raised to provide that emergency support to tens of thousands of people through the local church in dozens of nations. From working in hospitals in Venezuela to serving refugees in Athens to supporting single mothers in Nigeria and feeding whole communities in South East Asia, God did an astounding thing as we stood together with our brothers and sisters around the world. What an amazing practical demonstration of what it means to be a global family of churches!

 

As we move into a new phase of the pandemic with both the hope of vaccines on the way and the uncertainty of the economic implications in the months and years ahead, we’ve been listening to our churches in the developing world share about the challenges they are facing, and how we can help. For many of our brothers and sisters around the world, the big, ongoing impact of the pandemic has been the devastation of local businesses; thousands and thousands of livelihoods that have been destroyed in the wake of this crisis; whole communities left without the means to thrive in the future. Particularly hard hit have been the poorest in the informal economy, those without regular income, without government safety nets.

 

So, we’ve been listening, and we want to respond. That’s why we are now launching the Catalyst Business Redevelopment Fund.

 

The goal of the new Fund is to provide micro-grants to help those whose livelihoods have been turned upside down by COVID-19 to build a sustainable, local enterprise that will do them good and do their community good. Most grants will be £200-£500 in value, with people applying through their local church, ensuring that every project we support is known, trusted, and built with relationship at its core.

 

Projects we’ve already started working with include resourcing pig farmers, skills training in mechanics and sewing, and working with market traders to buy new equipment that can support their business – simple, practical, and effective ways to change lives and transform communities.

 

The work of the Business Redevelopment Fund is supported by generous donations from individuals and churches. To donate by Bank Transfer, please use the following details, or use the button to give via Paypal:

Account Name: Catalyst Network of Churches
Account Number: 65626678
Sort Code: 08-92-99

 

When entering a reference, please use “Business” to enable the finance team to identify donations and assign them accordingly.  If you are happy for us to claim UK Gift Aid on your donation, that will also make a big difference to this work by allowing us to boost your donation by 25p for every pound given, at no extra cost to you. To do that, just fill in the Gift Aid form here. If you have any questions about the process, please get in touch with the team at finance@catalystnetwork.org and they’ll be able to help you out.

 

We know that the next few years aren’t going to be easy, especially for our brothers and sisters in the developing world, but our hope and our prayer is that the Catalyst Business Redevelopment Fund can play a part in supporting those most at risk from the long-term economic implications of everything that’s happened over the past year. I hope you can join us in supporting, giving to, and praying for, this work. Thanks so much.

By Simon Holley

Simon leads the Catalyst Strategy Team along with the eldership team at the King’s Arms Church in Bedford, and supports and teaches at churches around the world. His passion is to see ordinary believers walk into an encounter with God’s love for them and to then equip them to take that message out into the world with demonstrations of the power of God. Simon is married to Caroline, and they have three children.