CAPTION: Paignton Parish Church, St John the Baptist benefits from the Parish Giving Scheme.

How the Parish Giving Scheme Has Helped A Devon Parish Over The Pandemic

Posted: 12th July, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has been a strain on the finances of many churches across Devon and the rest of the country.

James Devonport, Parish Treasurer at St John the Baptist church in Paignton, explains how the Parish Giving Scheme has been a helpful resource for him and his parish to support the mission and ministry of the church.

Paignton Parish Church Treasurer, James Devonport.

“The various lockdowns have had an effect on the churches in our parishes financially. With the various closures and restrictions, there has been lower average attendance, reductions in the ad-hoc plate collections and of course reduced letting income from our church halls.”

The Parish Giving Scheme is a simple and easy way for you to support the mission and ministry of your local parish. Your parish can receive donations, regular giving and any eligible Gift Aid on a regular basis.

“We have used the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) for some time and encouraged new members of the congregation to give using it. The number of people using PGS has steadily increased.

“We have many traditional “envelope givers” as well as people who have always given by standing order. We claim gift aid periodically, but due to the work involved, it’s not that often. PGS has certainly made it simpler for administration and our new Gift Aid secretary and I will be actively working with members of our congregation to encourage more of them to move to PGS.

“We have already had six members of the congregation in the past month switch from envelopes and standing order to PGS. I know that some have used paper forms and the new online service.

The Parish Giving Scheme became an independent charity in 2014 when Exeter, Winchester and Chichester joined the scheme.

The PGS offers a variety of ways in which you can set up your gift. These include paper forms, and a telephone and online service.

“For some members of the congregation who do not feel comfortable using a computer, the traditional paper and telephone-based sign-up services work well. Unfortunately, during the first lockdown from March to June 2020, arranging for paper forms to be completed and then processed was difficult.

“However, the new online service makes the process really easy for anyone who has some experience online. It is so much easier to use than setting up standing orders with the bank, and of course giving can be simply adjusted. Before inviting any of the congregation to engage with the process online, both the Gift Aid secretary and I set it up for ourselves. It’s all done in a few minutes and very straightforward.”

“PGS is an excellent giving platform for the Parish. For any member of the congregation who wants to give regularly to the work of the church it’s easy for the individual to set up and manage their giving. For the Parish Treasurer, and anyone else in the Parish helping with counting cash or cheques, there is a significant reduction in cash-handling, banking and recording. The reduction in paperwork and gift-aid claims required are minimal and with gift aid being claimed by PGS and paid to the Parish monthly, this of course aids the all-important cashflow.

Find out more about the Parish Giving Scheme and using it in your church here.