Exploring the partnership networks of churches and church-affiliated organisations in health promotion

Darshini Ayton, Gemma Carey, Nerida Joss, Helen Keleher, Ben Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Health promotion professionals often work with community organisations and voluntary associations, including churches and church-affiliated organisations, to reduce health inequities within communities. How voluntary and church-affiliated organisations form intersectoral relationships and partnerships, and the challenges they face in doing so, has been well researched. However, there is a need to investigate further the extent to which local churches collaborate or form partnerships with other actors, such as government, peak bodies and welfare organisations. This paper reports a Victorian-based mapping exercise of partnerships and funding involving document analysis of the annual reports from 126 organisations and 35 interviews conducted with church-affiliated organisations and local churches. The discussion begins with the exploration of the nature of, and the reason why churches partner with other sectors. The paper also examines funding sources and partnership pathways that churches access to undertake the activities and programs they conduct. Interview themes highlight the value to churches of the sharing of expertise and resources, the provision of support to communities, a shared ethos of social justice and the empowerment of vulnerable populations. The findings about the extent to which local churches are involved in partnerships across society, and the extent of public and private funds they draw on to provide resources and assistance to local communities, indicate that churches are now a key player not just in welfare provision but also in health promotion activities. The findings contribute to the understanding of church activities in relation to health promotion and will assist organisations who may be potential partners to consider their collaborative efforts in the health promotion field.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)148-157
    JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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