Church runs out of cash for inner-city poor

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The Independent Online

The Church of England may look to the National Lottery to rescue its Church Urban Fund, established during the Thatcher years to aid inner cities.

The Church of England may look to the National Lottery to rescue its Church Urban Fund, established during the Thatcher years to aid inner cities.

Next month the General Synod, the church's governing council, will be told that the multi-million pound charity will run out of cash by 2005, jeopardising hundreds of projects helping the homeless and the unemployed. An independent review led by the Bishop of Bradford will say the fund must scale down its activities or raise income from new sources.

The fund arose from the landmark Faith In The Cities report of 1985, which provoked Tory fury for suggesting inner cities were neglected.Since it was founded in 1987 the charity has pumped £37m into nearly 3,000 inner city projects.

The Church now wants the fund to continue on a permanent footing, having found that inner city divisions have grown and are bringing about increased financial need.

The debate on the fund's future comes as the Church of England prepares to renew its focus on tackling rural and urban deprivation.

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