In 2017 the Diocese launched the Lay Formation Fund, money set aside each year from the Together in Faith Adult Formation Fund to help people to access courses that they would not otherwise be able to afford. So far, the fund has supported Hospital and University Chaplaincy Courses, an MA in Education, Certificates in Marriage and Family life, and research into evangelisation. It has also supported a Catholic Men’s Weekend, and provided YouCats (Youth Catechists) for Catholic prisoners.
Who is eligible for support?
The Lay Formation Fund exists to enable those active in ministry to grow in faith and skills, for the benefit of their local community and to fulfil their vocation. The Fund can be used to provide faith formation at a variety of levels, or for the development of practical skills. Grants will usually be given on a matched funding basis (with a sponsoring parish/organisation paying half), although consideration will be given for full funding where appropriate. Applications will be assessed by the Application Committee which meets three times a year.
Any adult (aged 18+) in active ministry in the Diocese of Northampton and wishing to deepen their knowledge of religious formation and education, wishing to educate others or wishing to extend their practical skills, is eligible to apply for support from the Lay Formation Fund. Some of the courses which would be acceptable include:
- Locally based faith formation (eg courses put on by NORES or the Office for Adult Chaplaincy and Formation)
- The Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) either locally in the diocese, or online with Liverpool Hope University.
- Accredited courses and degrees, such as the Certificate in Parish Mission and Ministry from The Maryvale Institute.
- Practical courses which will benefit the parish (such as book keeping or flower arranging) from local Adult Education Service.
- New local adult formation initiatives.
Eligibility for support
Applicants must have the support of their parish priest, area dean or another diocesan priest known to them before applying. In addition to this application form, you must also include:
- A letter of support from the applicant’s parish priest/area dean or a priest known to the applicant.
- Proof of costs, (which may include training fees, necessary travel, accommodation and/or reading materials,) should be included in the application, (or provided at a later date, before the funding is awarded, if unavailable at the time of application.) All costs will be paid directly to the applicant.
How applications will be assessed
Applications will be assessed in batches at three times a year in February, July and October. This is timed to be well in advance of university starting dates in September and January, with an extra meeting for parish projects. You will need to apply separately to your educational institute. Applications will be considered between meetings only in extenuating circumstances.
Eligibility will depend on the applicant fulfilling the necessary criteria.
There is a fixed amount in the fund for each year, and once this has been allocated, it may not be possible to give further grants until the following year.
The Application Committee will be responsible for reviewing applications and allocating funds. Their decision is final. The Committee will contact applicants with the outcome shortly after each meeting.
The committee will meet each year in October, February and July.