New appointment announced to equip churches in their work with young people and families

6th May 2015

Helen CockayneThe Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft is delighted to announce the appointment of Helen Cockayne as the Centenary Project Leader.

The Diocese of Sheffield has committed £1,000,000 from its historical reserves to fund and support an increase in work with children, youth and/or families in order to serve the common good, nurture faith and grow disciples among children, young people and families. The funding will be primarily aimed at the most deprived parishes within the diocese.

Helen has over 20 years experience of growing and leading youth and children’s work. For the past 10 years she has been the Senior Youth and Children’s Pastor at St Mark’s Church Haydock, and a Diocesan Advisor in Children’s work in the Diocese of Liverpool.

Helen said:

"I am really excited to be taking on this new and innovative role. I am passionate about children and young people and their journey with God. My desire is for this project to make a real difference to the way we minister to children and young people developing a vibrant and living relationship with God. The Centenary Project will be a springboard to launch a whole new network of children’s, youth and family workers to enable churches to reach many more young people in our Diocese with God's love."

Bishop Steven said:

“Helen has a proven track record of helping parishes to grow vibrant youth and children’s work. This investment signals a step change in the ministry and mission amongst children, young people and families across the Diocese of Sheffield and Helen has the vision and skills necessary to turn this dream into a reality”.

Mike North, the Diocesan Children and Young People’s Advisor said:

“What an amazing opportunity the Centenary Project presents to us!  Please pray for Helen as she begins her new role, and for all those involved in ministering to children, families and young people in our schools, churches and communities, that they would know God’s on-going encouragement and guidance.”

Background information:

  • The funding will be used for either Children & Family Workers or Youth Workers, referred collectively as Centenary Project Workers (CPWs) - they will be accountable to the Centenary Project Leader but rooted in the local parish church and managed locally with central support.
  • The Centenary Project is Diocese wide but will prioritise areas of higher deprivation, or locations identified strategically, where a CPW could make a real and sustainable impact.  The Centenary Project also identifies a need for a bias toward resourcing Doncaster and Rotherham but does not exclude Sheffield.
  • The CPWs will be a part of a network, coordinated by the Centenary Project Leader, connecting CPWs and other youth, children and families workers in the Diocese together for training, envisioning, support and prayer.
  • The Centenary Project Leader will:
  1. Assist parishes and Mission Partnerships in shaping applications for CPWs.
  2. Mentor / coach the CPWs and provide or signpost appropriate training.
  3. Grow and coordinate a learning network of CPWs and other youth, children and families workers in the diocese.
  • The CPWs will not work alone, but have good support from the parish, where they will build teams of volunteers and connect across parish boundaries.

Application Process
The qualifying criteria and application process will be published on the Diocesan Website in June and we anticipate that the first CPW’s will take up their posts in September 2015. 

View current news