The Parish of St. Paul, Oldham

Annual Report 2019

Administrative Information

St. Paul's church is situated at the corner of Broadway Street and Ashton Road, Hathershaw, Oldham. The correspondence address is St. Paul’s Vicarage, 55 Belgrave Road, Oldham OL8 1LU.

The parish is in the Deanery of Oldham West, in the Diocese of Manchester.

The parish forms part of the United Benefice of Oldham and Werneth, and a Mission Partnership with the parish of St. Thomas, Werneth. It is part of a Mission Unit with Holy Trinity, Coldhurst, St Stephen & All Martyrs, Oldham, and Oldham Parish Church.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is a charity excepted from registration with the Charity Commission.

The Parish Bank Account is with HSBC. The Insurers of the Parish are EIG.

The Parish

The parish contains a variety of property which includes owner occupier, rented, council houses, apartments and sheltered housing. There are terraced houses, a legacy of the cotton industry, and a mix of semi and detached houses.

A number of new homes have been built in the parish.

In the Index of Multiple Deprivation, the parish straddles 6 LSOAs. A "Lower Super Output Area" is the smallest geographical unit for which demographic data is produced. Oldham 024B is ranked 1,003, and Oldham O29A is ranked 321 out of 32,844 LSOAs across the country. In the 3% and 1% most deprived, respectively. The immediate area around St. Paul's, and the top end of Hathershaw, respectively.

There is a mix of religious and ethnic communities in the parish: British, Asian, and Eastern European. The parish also plays host to a Methodist Church, a Spiritualist Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Mormon Temple, two Hindu Temples and several Mosques.

There are a number of schools in the Parish: Coppice and Broadfield (Primary); Hulme Grammar; and Hathershaw College of Technology and Sport.

Vicar's Report

We said goodbye to Revd. Janet Pitman in January, as she completed her curacy and moved on to pastures new.

We were excited in January to welcome Revd. Judith Ware back from her trip to Guyana. We welcomed Gina Andrewes as the parish's 5th Authorised Lay Minister in June.

This year, I have been encouraged by the number of new faces at St. Paul's. In response to many of the young families, we have started a monthly evening service, generally at 6pm on the first Wednesday in the month. We also hope to be running a new group for young people every term or so. The first took place at the end of the Autumn term. These activities have been well-attended, and fun! Through Judith's efforts, we are also pleased to be running occasional discussion groups!

We have also noticed a positive trend of hosting more baptisms, and particularly on a Sunday morning! A number of children and young people were also admitted to Holy Communion.

We were also happy to have been able to resolve the issues with the door entry system, and seem now to be able to enjoy the benefits that our main entrance brings.

On Sunday mornings this year, we have have from time to time looked at the factors that "Growing Churches" have in common.

Sadly, this year, slow progress has been made on a couple of key projects: in particular the work on the back of church, and the organ restoration. It is hoped that these will be completed in 2020!

We continue to work our way through the issues on our Mission Action Plan, which increasingly shapes our priorities as a Church. It is well worth reading: this document shapes our church life and service in response to the call of Christ, here in Hathershaw.

(Revd. Nick Andrewes)

PCC Object

The Parochial Church Council has the responsibility, according to law:

To cooperate with the minister in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the church, pastoral, evangelistic, social, and ecumenical.

PCC Structure & Governance

The method of appointment of PCC members is broadly as set out in the Church Representation Rules, with one exception: Church Wardens may be elected for an unlimited number of consecutive periods of office. The Hon. Assistant Priest is also an ex-officio member of the PCC.

Thus the PCC currently consists of 9 elected members, depending on numbers on the Electoral Roll. Thus 4 were elected in 2012 (when there were more numbers on the role); 3 each year. In addition, there are ex officio members: 3 Deanery Synod Representatives; 2 Church Wardens, the Vicar, and the Hon. Assistant Priest.

All who attend Church are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and stand for election to the PCC.

PCC Membership
Vicar:Revd. Nick Andrewes (Chair)
Curate:Revd. Janet Pitman (to January)
Deanery Synod Representatives:Colin Platt, Megan Locklin, vacant
PCC MEMBERS: (2 years to serve):Jane McColgan, Pam McKay, Lynne Street (Secretary)
PCC MEMBERS (1 year to serve):Gracieth Rescova da Conceicao (resigned), Hamelton Rescova Cristovao (resigned), Margaret Fogg
PCC MEMBERS (0 years to serve):David Street (Treasurer), Adrienne Williams
Safeguarding Officer:Carol Vaudrey
Independent Examiner:Danny Stone
Electoral Roll

A new Electoral Roll was prepared this year. There are 66 names on it.

(Jill Platt)

PCC Secretary's Report

Since the last APCM there have been 7 meetings of the PCC. These have all been chaired by Nick. There are 8 members of the PCC. Overall attendance has been very good. We will be looking for a new member of the PCC as Adrienne’s term of office ends this year. If any of our younger Church members are interested please come and have a chat.

Main topics of the year has been the Mission Action Plan, Finance & Stewardship. Discussions on the refurbishment of the organ have taken place and more recently the urgent matter of the roof. . .

(Lynne Street)

PCC Treasurer's Report

This year has seen us consolidate on the good results of 2018. Our overall bank balance has improved by £754.

Shop income remained stable at £6,000. Room hire was also stable at £6700. Clearly these are 2 very valuable sources of income and my thanks to everyone who facilitates these resources.

Unfortunately, general fund raising was down by £2000 mainly due to 2 special events that were held in 2018.As usual the Christmas Fair, the Art Exhibition and the Concert all brought in their expected welcome source of income. Many thanks to Adrienne who put in many hours organising the Art Exhibition. And a special thanks to Carole for organising the last ever concert and of course all the concerts in the preceding years.

Major items of expenditure are the update to the central heating at a cost of £2740, Japanese Knotweed treatment of £600 (but another payment of £600 is due in 2020) and tree maintenance of £470. As usual, we managed to pay the Parish share in full, which was reduced to £23000 after consultation with the Diocese. We gave £614 to 2 charities (Children’s Society and Unicef).

So, as things stand at the end of 2019, we have £13,980 in the general account, £2,250

for outside area improvements and £5,828 towards the organ fund.

(David Street)

PCC Reserves Policy
  • The parish acknowledges the principles of Jesus’ teachings, and also of good governance: that money should only be kept in reserve for specific purposes, or spent, to further the objects of the PCC—not hoarded for a rainy day. These objects are listed above.
  • The Parish identifies particular risks in its situation. The Parish is grateful for work of volunteers and organisers of the Parish Second Hand Shop; and for the work of those who make the Community Room available to the Community. Both of these bring significant income into the parish. However the parish is also realistic about the potential risks associated with its dependence on these forms of income.
  • The Parish recognises that there is also a considerable backlog of building work that needs to be undertaken. Immediate priorities were indicated in the Quinquennial Inspection Report (2012). Those not yet completed include redesigning the area around the cellar steps to make them safe. In addition to this a number of smaller and larger improvements and repairs are needed to improve the fabric of church and community room.
  • Therefore the Parish aims for its level of reserves to approximately match 4 months of annual payments, at current levels this roughly equates to £17,300 (33% of £51,800). And the end of December 2019, our reserves stood at £13,980 (December 2018: £13,226). It is important that we continue to increase our level of reserves to the target level, for the health and stability of the parish.
Church Attendance

Average Sunday Attendance from October Census for recent years:

aged 16 and over (including baptisms)4345536254
aged 16 and over (who attend less than 12 times per year)71217146
aged 16 and over (who attend more than 12 times per year)3841453840
aged 16 and under1615191810

There have been no incidents reported over the last year and I would like to thank all our service leaders for their support, patience and time given to our church children and vulnerable adults. Each Sunday morning I call in Sunday School to ensure they have adequate help and offer support if needed.

I meet the uniform leaders regularly to ensure all children attending our church, in what ever capacity, have the highest level of care and protection we can give. I myself have support from the clergy.

I have recently attended a P.C.C. meeting to discuss the merits of all members of the P.C.C. being D.B.S. checked, although we are not a registered charity. Opinions are divided and discussions are continuing about the value of this.

At the moment I hold three positions, Child Protection Coordinator (E-bulk recruiter), Vulnerable Adults Coordinator and Safe-Guarding Officer. I would welcome someone to take over one of these roles and this would allow us to support one another.

(Carol Vaudrey)

Health & Safety

The health and safety policy was re-issued in September 2019 following the PCC’s annual review - no changes were necessary.

Employers’ liability insurance is renewed annually.

The Health & Safety Law poster is on display and includes contact details for reporting accidents/incidents, or any potential health and safety related issues.

The fire evacuation procedure has been reviewed and is on display. An evacuation route plan is displayed in the porch, choir vestry and community room. The fire evacuation procedure will require testing during 2020.

Health & safety inspections have been carried out throughout the year – these inspections include: Condition of ceilings and overhead fixtures, condition of floors and footpaths, storage of chemicals and cleaning materials, fire exit access, provision of fire extinguishers and fire blankets, availability of first aid kits, ladder condition checks, adequacy of lighting, heating boiler maintenance and electrical safety tests.

No incidents/accidents were reported during the year - the last reported accident involved as trip and fall at the shop in January 2019. 7 accidents have been reported over the last 6 years.

The church risk assessment was updated following the review 14/11/18.

No further risks have been identified during this year’s inspections.

Should any member of the congregation have any concerns about health and safety arrangements in the church, please let the health and safety officer know so that improvements can be made.

(Neil Marshall)

Deanery Synod

The Deanery Synod and its committees have discussed a variety of subjects during the year. I have included headings to illustrate these subjects along with a few comments.

Archdeacon Cherry Venn has helped our Deanery over the past 11 years and will move to be Bishop of Monmouth in 2020, many parishes have benefitted from her advice, especially ours.

There is a move to create within the Diocese, seven new Deaneries. Each of these Deaneries will be led by a full time Area Dean. This move is seen as a positive move forward and will see for us a joining of both Oldham Deaneries with the Deanery of Ashton. If agreed, this plan should be in place by the end of 2020.

Mission Action Plans. (MAPs)

The common themes addressed within the Oldham West Deanery MAPs:

  • Better communication.
  • Liasing with Church House.
  • Social media.
  • Working with Children and Families.

The night shelter project:

The 2018/19 project came to an end on 31st March 2019. There had been 60+ users and of those 20 had been found permanent accommodation. There had been on average 10 attendees per night at the shelter. On one occasion there were 17, when the facilities accommodated 15, so extra support was sought. During the project 879 bed nights were provided.

Parish Share

The Diocesan Synod had addressed the issue of parish share. There is currently a £600,000 shortfall of monies in the Diocese. The Deanery encourages all parishes to pay Parish Share in full.

Foundations For Ministry

Proposed courses were discussed.

At present a 3rd to a half of parishes have had attendees on this course in the past. There is an opportunity for the Deanery to host a Foundations For Ministry Course. This would begin either September 2019 or January 2020

Setting Gods People Free Workshop

Two workshops on a theme from ‘Setting Gods People Free’ have been arranged. The workshops will be held as an informal day for laity to discuss gifts and talents that they can use to assist the ministry in our churches.

The Deanery received reports from the Diocesan Synod

Issues addressed were: Fit For Mission; Re ordering of Deaneries; Budgets. The FFM Plan is rooted in what God is asking us to do:

  • Growing - In order to address the declining church population we should be using the Gospel to encourage others. Look at changing services.
  • Nurturing - have the confidence to have difficult conversations about faith.
  • Serving - We should look at offering our buildings to make connections ie with schools. Fresh - We should look at new ways of doing things.
  • Refresh – Maintenance to Mission.

Objectives by 2030

  • Increase the church population from 25,800 to 31,500.
  • Growth of 50 new churches
  • Increase in church attendance in the 18 – 40 age group. The use of social media to reach out.
  • Increase in baptisms and confirmations.
  • All churches signed up to become Eco churches.
  • A move to become 7 Deaneries.

(Colin Platt)

Planned Giving & Gift Aid

Planned Giving: Weekly Envelopes

At the start of 2019, we had 19 people who took the weekly Planned Giving boxed envelopes. By the end of 2019 there are 12 people who regularly use the envelopes on a weekly basis.

Planned Giving: Direct into the bank account

At the Start of 2019 there were 26 people donating monthly direct into our bank account. By the end of 2019 there were 23 people donating via the bank.


Overall, at the end of the year we had 35 people actively donating to church funds via the Planned Giving scheme, plus 7 people occasionally using their envelope.

(Lynne Street)

Social Committee

The first event in 2019 which was enjoyed by church members and people from the community was the 'Hi Di Hi' concert staged in February. Performed on Friday and Saturday night it was really good fun and as this was our last concert after many years many thanks go to Carol for her hard work and organisation. The concert was sadly missed this year.

However many of the other social events which were enjoyed will be repeated during the coming year, a list of which is to be found in the church magazine.

One of the most popular events, especially with the children was The Magician who amazed us all with his magic tricks and invited all the children to participate. Pass the parcel and a buffet were included. The afternoon was enjoyed by adults and children alike. Hopefully, all being well, this afternoon of tricks and treats will be repeated in April.

An enjoyable evening out is the G&S production at Woodhouses in May usually pre-emptied by a pub meal. Last year we saw 'Rudigore' and this year is the ever popular 'Gondoliers'

Also in May a walk and pub lunch is to be re-introduced and in June a 'Strawberry Tea' is planned with an invited speaker, Anne Ashton who will talk to us about 'Medical, Magic and Mystery'. Many will recognise Anne as she is the mother of Janet Pitman our late very popular curate.

We struck lucky in August for our Bowls afternoon and had glorious weather. After many rounds the 2 champions were Lita (who had never played before!) and Alan who is a well practised match player (shame!). This was the first time that the trophies, donated in remembrance of Peter Walker from St. Thomas' were presented. We all enjoyed our usual delicious tea and also the extra excitement of England beating Australia at Headingley due to the magnificent innings by Ben Stokes (keen cricket fans kept nipping into the pavilion to watch the match on the big screen!)

At the beginning of September we held a Family Fun Day in Alexandra Park targeted mainly at the Sunday School children and the Farsi lads from St Thomas' but all were welcome. We were treated to the most delicious food, choices of bean casserole and chicken with accompaniments. A real feast! Afterwards we either recovered by sitting in the sun or ran it off playing football. This year it is planned for July.

An Art Exhibition was held in October, once again there was lots of wonderful talent on show.

All our Christmas events were appreciated, the Chocolate Coffee Morning, Victorian Christmas Market and the Christmas meals for men and women respectively. All are included in this year's events.

Our events are shared jointly with St Thomas' and are well advertised on the church website, notice boards, magazine, through local papers and in the Charity Shop to encourage anyone in the community to join us and enjoy the fun.

More events are planned but not dated as yet so keep a look out.

Many thanks to all who gave their time and energies to help organise the different events. Anyone who has an idea for an event which they would like to be included or to organise themselves do make contact. Friday evenings and Saturdays are now free to be used. We are always keen to enjoy new ideas.

(Adrienne, Barbara & the Social Committee)

Sunday School

This has been a very busy and fun year for St Paul’s Sunday school. Just short of 40 children have accessed the Sunday school this year with a committed core group of 25 children attending on a regular basis.

We miss Sally who was a leader for four years, who has now move on to pastures new. Amy and Gina meet every term to create a rich and enjoyable curriculum. There has been a continued focus on sessions supporting access to communion. This has been further embedded with the first Wednesday evening in the month All Age service in the community room. Nick has led these with a focus on following and having a better understanding of being involved in the communion service.

Also we have had projects such as ‘Stitch a Tree’ in support of asylum seekers journeys to safety; delivering an Eco service exploring the themes of plastic oceans, deforestation and global warming. Later in the year we explored the 12 disciples by making comical grass heads which you may have noticed on one of the window sills. The Midwife Crisis nativity was very ambitions with many parts and props to practice and make respectively.

Lastly many thanks to four parents who have been more involved in supporting the running of the Sunday school.

(Amy Holt & Gina Andrewes)


We have taken part in a number of challenges throughout the year. We completed a journey into Europe Challenge. For this we sampled different fruits, attempted to make the Eiffel tower from marshmallows & spaghetti and created our own pizzas. As we had new girls we did some Ice Breaker games and learnt the Phonetic and Manual Alphabets. We took part in Guides Get Muddy at Holcombe Moor Army Training Camp. This event includes obstacles, challenges and lots of mud.

Alex, Charlie, Faith & myself have been very lucky to be selected to go to the Guide house in Mexico in 2020. So we have attended a couple of residentials held a Mothers Day afternoon tea, a Plant Sale & breakfast. We have also volunteered at Oldham, Marple & Heywood Park Runs.

In July we went to Height Nook Activity Centre Darwen. Our theme for the week was Bugs. The girls completed crafts, games and activities relevant to the theme, including Bee Your Best Challenge Badge. As we were inside we made the most of the oven by baking our own biscuits, cakes & scones.

We finished off the year with a PJ party, a visit to Oldham Coliseum Panto Jack & the Beanstalk and 3 new Guides made their promise.

(Hayley Cowling)

Community Room

The community room continues to be well used by the local community. As ever we seek to operate on a "WIN-WIN" basis: the church and community both benefit from use of the Community Room.

We have had a process of bedding in for the new door. The fob system adds an extra level of convenience and security to our management of the space. We only need to give out a small number of keys to the front door. The team of volunteers who lock the door every night don't have to go immediately a group finishes, or meet the group when they start. This makes it much easier on the volunteers who give of their own time to make the space available - and it also means that we don't have to pay someone to fulfil this role - and this enables us to continue to provide cheap meeting space for members of our extremely deprived local community, and particularly for minority ethnic groups.

Over the year, the room has been used by Pop In, Bethel Church, Deeper Life Church, Scouts, Guides, and Stitch & Share.

Many thanks to the volunteers who enable this to happen.


The choir is a strong group of people who love music and enjoy enhancing worship.

It is pleasing to note that the choir numbers are growing and we all notice that many young people who act as servers have lovely voices.

However it would be nice to see a few men joining the choir and enhancing the harmonies, you don’t have to read music, just follow the black dots and sing higher when they go up and lower when they go down! and just enjoy singing!

Our thanks to our IT organist, Nigel for his weekly production of our backing music and to David Brocklehurst for his playing on the backing tracks.

It has been lovely on a few occasions to be accompanied by the organ and we hope that we might use it more regularly in the future

I think we are fortunate to have music in our worship and a strong choir to lead the singing.

To quote from another church, ‘Come and join us’.

(Colin Platt)

Charity Shop

Our Church Charity Shop is continuing to provide a service to the community, and to generate income for our Church.

It is through the regular commitment of our volunteers that we are able to offer this service to the community.

If you can offer an hour or two, to help sort clothes and check the stock in our storage rooms, then please speak to Carol, Jill or Colin who will explain what is needed.

The Customers:

Many of the people living in our community appreciate, not only the value of goods they purchase, but also the kind and thoughtful manner in which they are treated.

Thank You:

To everyone involved, especially to Carol Vaudrey who prepares our monthly Rotas.

To Eileen Cooper who looks after our finances.

To all the regular weekly/fortnightly volunteers, and to all the volunteers who often come into the shop to cover for absences

Special Thank You

to the volunteers from within the local community, we could not manage without you.


We welcome all donations of Clean, Nicely Folded, Clothing. It is only through the generous donations that we are able to offer a wide variety and styles of Children’s, Ladies and Men’s clothes.

A last plea:

If anyone feels that they can offer a few hours volunteering then please contact Colin, Jill or Carol.

(Colin Platt)

Stitch & Share

We continue to run the Textiles and Sewing Groups on a Wednesday in term time between 10 am and 12 noon, and 1pm and 3pm, respectively.

In October we were very pleased to have been awarded a grant from Near Neighbours for £3900 to start a sister project at St Thomas’ Church on Mondays. This has been an ambitious project of three groups in a day. So far we have established in the morning a sewing Asian garments group, with a regular attendance of ten. In the afternoon we are advertising a ‘Relaxation through textile embroidery’ to the local community and also to the local authorities social prescribing scheme.

Social Prescribing supports and refers people to community activities that they feel they would be interested in. This also helps to combat loneliness and isolation, and has a positive effect on mental and physical well-being

Stitch and Share is run under the auspices of the PCC and so the accounts are presented below:

General Donations321.77St. Paul's Resources61.52
Grants4,390.00St. Thomas' Resources1,377.99
Trading174.98St. Paul's Room Hire1,265.00
St. Thomas' Room Hire120.00
St. Paul's Sewing Tutor630.00
St. Thomas' Textiles Tutor120.00
Balance at 1 / 1 / 19:£ 2,655.38Balance at 31 / 12 / 19:£ 3,967.62
SURPLUS£ 1,312.24

(Gina Andrewes & Auriel Hopkinson)


The magazine is published monthly and at the present time we have a steady sale of around 70 copies which brings in much needed income for Church, although the number of subscribers has dropped during the past year.

In spite of the rising cost of paper, ink etc. we have been able to maintain the price of the Magazine to £5 00 per year for eleven editions, one of which is the bigger edition published in December. Spare copies are available in the entrance porch at a cost of 50p.

Copy for the magazine is always welcome and items of interest can be left in the box at the back of Church or emailed to the address on the back page. The editors are very grateful for these contributions and I should like to appeal on their behalf for more items to put in the magazine. Please consider whether you could offer something of interest for an edition of the magazine – it needn’t be original, maybe something you have read somewhere which amused you or gave you something to think about, which you could share with the people who read our publication.

As magazine secretary I should like to thank the Editors, the printing team, the distributors and anyone who has helped in any way to keep the magazine going and to remind you that if you have not paid for 2020 subs are due!

If you are not on the magazine list, please consider being added to it- you will be kept up to date with events at St. Paul’s as well as supporting us financially.

(Eileen Cooper)

Pop In

In May this year, the Pop-In will have been meeting on Tuesday afternoons for the past 22 years. During that time, we have tried to plan an interesting programme for our members, who are so supportive in everything we do. We have two members who have been with us from the beginning and others who have been coming for many years. Anyone is welcome to visit us to see what we do and to join us at our meetings which begin at 2p.m and finish about 3.15 p.m. except on meal days, when it is a little later.

Tea and cake is always available and a hot meal is served once a month. We have varied activities going on each week, including Bingo sessions, quizzes, beetle drives, dominoes, as well as the occasional “race meetings”, film shows and afternoon teas on special occasions.

The high cast of transport has meant that day trips are not possible, but twice this year we have been lucky enough to round up enough drivers to be able to take our members for a pub lunch, which was very enjoyable.

If you feel that you would like to be part of this group, please “pop-in” any Tuesday afternoon or speak to myself or Jill Platt.

(Eileen Cooper)

Oldham Community Night Shelter

This year the project took place at Impact Church, on Manchester Road

Eco-Church Report

In February 2020 we checked how St. Paul’s was doing against the Eco Church Audit which is an online survey about how we care for God's earth, with the categories:

Worship & Teaching:

here we have progressed from Bronze to Gold, giving the environment prominence on a Sunday morning.


here we are in the Bronze Zone. While we introduced the recycling bins last year, actually using them correctly is a little more problematic!


here we are in the Bronze Zone. A challenge here is that we hope to make the space behind the church a place to plant, compost and increase biodiversity.


here we are in the Bronze Zone.

Personal Engagement & Lifestyle:

here we still have a way to go. Perhaps we are shy about talking about each other's personal lifestyles and do not want to offend? Suggested ideas here include a communal Christmas card scheme or encouraging each other to use more locally-sourced food.

However the main thing is that we are moving in the right direction: treading more lightly upon this earth and saving our common home for generations to come.

(Gina Andrewes)

Church Flowers

Thank you very much to all who donate money to the Flower Fund during the year. Often donations are given in memory of loved ones on specific dates during the year, and of course at special times during the church year, at Easter, Harvest and Christmas.

During Lent and Advent we continue to observe the tradition of no flowers in church. However during the season of Advent we do have the Advent wreath with its candles, holly and ivy and displays of greenery which can be very attractive too.

If you would like to have flowers in church in someone’s memory or for a special family celebration, please put your name on the flower rota, on the notice board, next to the Sunday of your choice.

Many thanks to the flower girls, Andrea, Eileen and Margaret who create such lovely displays throughout the year.

(Jill Platt)