Furloughing St Timothy’s staff

Furloughing St Timothy’s staff

St Timothy’s finances and the government furlough scheme

On Tuesday 2nd June our PCC Standing Committee took the very difficult decision to furlough our remaining paid staff – Alex Townsend, Becki Porter, Kate Rogers-Kay and Siobhan Melville. That means the government furlough scheme will pay 80% of their salaries, leaving the Church to pay the remaining 20%.

This is not something any of us wanted to do. All our paid staff work incredibly hard, and contribute hugely to the life of St Timothy’s. We really appreciate everything they do. But our finances are under real pressure during the lockdown, and we have to find a way forward. I’d like to explain why we have made this decision, and what happens next.

A couple of weeks ago I shared in our 11am service about the state of our finances, and we put that information on our website and Facebook page. We began 2020 knowing we needed to raise at least an extra £8,000 this year. That’s because a grant we had to support our Youth and Children’s work has ended. And when Janet Daye stepped down as Acting Treasurer, we appointed a new part time Finance Officer.

Since then, Covid-19 has forced us to close our buildings. We have no income from letting the Community Hall, and no cash collections at services. Those two things usually bring in about £2,000 a month, which means £6,000 less income since lockdown began.

Our two biggest costs are the Common Fund – our contribution to the Diocesan budget – and our paid staff. We agreed to furlough the people who do cleaning and catering when lockdown began. But Siobhan our administrator, and Alex, Becki and Kate our Youth, Children and Families team, have continued to work as usual. We see their work as a priority, and we wanted to provide as much support as possible to families in this time of social isolation and school closures.  

Two things have changed. First, it looks as though the Covid restrictions could go on for months. We won’t be getting back to the ‘old normal’ anytime soon, and that means no hall lettings and no collections at services. Second, the government announced last week that they are closing the furlough scheme to new entrants. The last date to apply to join the scheme is Wednesday 10th June – just under a week’s time.  If we want to use the furlough scheme to help pay our staff, we have to decide now.

While Alex, Becki, Kate and Siobhan are furloughed, they are not allowed to do any of their usual work. So we are really grateful to the following people who have agreed to help out:

  • James Saunders will be our acting Safeguarding lead. 
  • James Chapman and David Townsend will take on responsibility for youth work. 
  • Bethan and Ben Lacey and Jenny Holt will be the contacts for children and families.
  • Chris Porter and Siobhan Melville (in her existing capacity as a volunteer) will look after online content for children.

Aidan Melville, Ellen Makin and I will take on different bits of admin work from Siobhan.
The period of furlough starts this week, and will last at least until the end of June.  The scheme is continually being reviewed by the government, and it may be possible from July for people to have a partial return to work, while receiving furlough support for the rest of their hours. There are no details of this yet, but it would be a good option for us if it’s possible. We will keep you updated about this. Meanwhile, do please keep this situation in your prayers. And thank you, as always, for your support.

3rd June 2020