Pastoral Worker for Older people – seed funding to start a role in 2 parishes

With many people living longer and the current demographic of our churches, you are probably finding that the needs of older people in your parish are increasing.

Many parishioners go out of their way to help others as much as they can, and SVP and other groups are an essential support to many older people. These informal and formal networks of love and inclusion work well in many situations. However, with the increased need, the effects of the pandemic, and the fact that some of those volunteering are themselves feeling vulnerable, resources are stretched and some older people are at risk of slipping through the net or becoming disconnected.

Walking with Older People in their Journey through Later Life

In response to this need, Growing Old Grace-fully approached funders with an idea for a Pastoral Worker/Lay Chaplain for Older People role, to see if it could be trialled in some parishes in the Diocese of Leeds.

The Ladies of the Grail caught the vision for this demonstration project and generously awarded some seed funding to be used in our Diocese.

What would a Pastoral Worker/Lay Chaplain do?

In partnership with the Parish Priest and Eucharistic Ministers, and working closely with relevant parish groups such as the SVP, a Lay Chaplain’s role would be to be an important point of contact for older people in the parish (as well as their families and carers) particularly in terms of their spiritual and emotional life, but with a whole-life approach.

They would use a person-centred listening approach with warmth, compassion, humour and mutual respect, enabling older people to:

  • be strengthened on their journey
  • be more connected and included in parish life
  • have their contributions valued
  • access support for practical needs.

We have seed funding to help 2 parishes set up and test this model with someone fulfilling this role a few hours a week.

We are now seeking expressions of interest from parishes in the Diocese and have recently sent information about this to all priests through the Ad Clerum.

If you are interested in this idea and feel your parish could benefit from this scheme, we would encourage you to speak with your priest and others in the parish to explore the possibilities, and then contact us (see below).


If you have any queries, please do contact our Development Officer Rhoda Wu on, she will be happy to help.