Community outreach

23 July 2019

Many examples of community outreach are an extension of pastoral care but they bring with them their own risk management and insurance implications, examples of which can be found below.

Colourful hands

'Messy Church' events

'Messy Church' events are about creativity, celebration and hospitality and are a wonderful way to engage with children and adults at your church.

You don’t need to tell us if you are holding this type of event, it is covered as part of your Methodist church’s general activities.
Some factors to bear in mind when organising any event are health and safety considerations and safeguarding.

Fresh Expressions of church

The Fresh Expressions community has grown significantly since its launch in 2004. The charity aims to engage with and support new forms of church that emerge in culture today that may be different from the traditional model. 

By the very nature of Fresh Expressions, activities may take place in unfamiliar settings such as a church in a café, pub or school. Generally these activities require no additional insurance implications however, you do need to take into consideration safeguarding, health and safety and personal safety. 
Where you are involved in a more unusual or hazardous Fresh Expressions of a church please contact us. Occasionally we may need to charge an additional premium.


Churches are becoming increasingly involved in the setting up and running of food banks as part of their outreach and giving to their local community. There are usually 2 scenarios. Either the church itself is responsible for the food bank, or the church is used by a third party. Either way, it is likely that the church buildings and the church members and volunteers will be involved.

To make sure your church insurance covers your foodbank, we may need to make a small adjustment to your premium. Therefore, we advise customers to call us at the planning stage so we can provide advice and make any necessary adjustments to your policy.

Street Pastor Programme

The work of street pastors can be extremely valuable to communities. Your church insurance policy will cover you in your role as a street pastor however, it is important that those taking part have completed the street pastor training programme

Please remember - all activity must be organised in conjunction with your local police force. 

Night shelters

Small churchThis might just be a warm place of shelter but often a night shelter will include providing meals, washing facilities and advice and support on housing, debt, domestic violence and job hunting. 

If your Methodist church is holding night shelters there may be a small additional premium so you will need to let our team know. Housing Justice offer a Shelter Quality Mark for church night shelters.


Cafes are a great way to source extra income for your church. If you are preparing and serving food you must train staff and volunteers in basic food hygiene and you’ll need to meet regulations set out in The Food Safety Act 1990 and The Food Hygiene Regulations 2006.

If you are preparing food you also need to let your local council know. They’ll tell you whether you need to register as a food service provider. 
Unless there will be a lot more cash held at the church, or you’ll be serving a lot of hot meals on a regular basis, you probably won’t need any extra cover but you can always call the team to check. Our food safety checklist gives more information on some of the points you’ll need to consider.

Offering advice

Your church insurance policy includes cover if the church is held legally liable where a member of the public suffers a financial loss arising out of errors or omissions in the provision of advice or services provided by the church. This excludes any loss or liability connected with any error or omission in the provision of pastoral care services or professional counselling services.

Administrative matters, such as the double booking of your church hall, are also covered where there are other services such as:
  • Basic money
  • Management advice
  • General life skills advice
  • Support in completing benefit forms
  • Or volunteers transporting people to appointments are provided.
Whilst we can offer cover for professional counselling services, we would not be able to cover any professional financial, legal or medical advice (other than Parish Nursing). If you are considering making professional advice available then please contact us on 0345 606 1331 to discuss the details.
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