An invitation to become a Friend of the Sandford St Martin Trust

“If you don’t understand religion, you can’t understand the world we live in.”

A Message from our Chair, the Rt Rev Jan McFarlane

“We believe good broadcasting about religion matters more than ever before so we’re building a community of Friends who will support us as we continue to encourage excellence in religious broadcasting.”

Whether you’re a believer or not, religion has an enormous influence on the society we live in: think of our major institutions, social welfare, schools and, above all, values.  Religion not only shapes the communities around us but also informs the choices people make and how they understand their place in the world.  As an enormous force for good or ill, it’s far too important to ignore.

Since 1978 the Sandford St Martin Trust has been committed to making the case for excellent broadcasting that explores religion, ethics and spiritual issues.  Over forty years our annual Awards have championed this vital genre, programmes and programme makers and we’ve lobbied hard for our national broadcasters to maintain the quantity and quality of what’s available to audiences.

Now we need your support

Broadcast technology is rapidly changing; to stay effective we need to change too.  Recent research by Ofcom identified a dramatic decline both in the hours and the investment that public service broadcasters are dedicating to religious content. Take this, together with the rapid growth of online programme-providers, and the rise of “fake news” at a time when religion has had such a powerful influence on world events – and it’s clear that the need for religious literacy and good religious broadcasting has never been greater.

As a Friend you can help shape and support our work in the future.  If you can commit to making a regular gift of £70 a month, with Gift Aid and match funding it will be worth over £2,000 to us in a year.  Higher rate tax payers are able to reclaim £210/£250 on their support, further reducing the actual cost.

Your gift will be used to develop the Trust’s new pro-active strategy for promoting and protecting excellent religious programming and content across the UK.  Through specially targeted events – e.g. debates, lectures, training – we’re aiming to revitalise interest in this genre with a growing audience.  With your support, through new advocacy and lobbying work at industry, regulatory and government levels, we’ll make the case for broadcasting about religion, ethics and spirituality year-round.

Your benefits as a Friend

  • Invitations to our annual broadcasting Awards Ceremony at Lambeth Palace
  • Exclusive invitations to special Friends’ events such as a personalised tour of Lambeth Palace and forthcoming outreach events
  • Get closer to the Trust through the opportunity to advise and input into our strategic plan through our regular ‘Friends’ Forums’
  • Be among the first to receive relevant news and early access to our publications and contributions to public consultations

 “BBC charter renewal and questions about the ownership of Channel 4, have focused to some extent on the diversity of people who make up our islands and who constitute the audience of our great broadcasting institutions.  But if diversity is to mean anything, it must mean more than differences in ethnicity or personal tastes. True diversity also means paying proper attention to religion.”

The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury addressing the 2016 Awards

“Working in so many countries and cultures brings a responsibility to tell these stories as well as possible, and to understand people of all faiths and people of no faith. As journalists we hope our work helps bring a wider understanding, if not empathy to our world.”

Lyse Doucet, BBC Chief International Correspondent, winner of the 2015 Trustees’ Award

“When young people engage with questions like immigration, sexuality and their own mortality and morality, they’re not puzzling over intellectual questions they’re building their own identities and the future identity of this nation. And if our cultural arbiters vacate the field on which our young people wrestle with the great questions then other forces will step in. To leave a gap in the schedule around this area is to leave a hole in our nation’s heart.”

Frank Cottrell Boyce, Chair of Children’s Award Judges 2017

To find out more about becoming a Friend of the Sandford St Martin Trust contact us:

Sandford St Martin Trust

Room 202 Church House

Great Smith Street



Tel: 020 7898 1796