Nottingham in the East Midlands city is the UK’s seventh largest economy with an urban population (including city suburbs) of 770,000. Transforming Notts Together (T.N.T.) was started by the Church Urban Fund across Nottinghamshire to engage more churches in their local communities.

Hannah Buck joined T.N.T. in 2014. Her story of starting out is a helpful one. She waited on the Lord, she observed what was happening and where the areas of need were in the County. She invested in discussion – looking at what transformation could mean. From this she helped established a range of projects, all with clear leaders and vision and church support. Teams came together to address issues like refugees, homelessness, mental health, fostering, elderly care, places of welcome etc. T.N.T. helped to build collaboration; and link churches with the city and borough councils to strengthen the work further. But this was more than driving a range of projects. 

T.N.T. sought God’s heart for the city (and county), and this gave those projects insight, passion, and a kingdom perspective. 

During Covid the T.N.T. team grew from 3 to 10 supported by many volunteers. As elsewhere food bank work increased significantly as did their work in areas like mental health. One of the T.N.T. principles is that children across the county should flourish – this led to fresh approaches as children’s lives and learning were significantly disrupted by Covid. Working with other parts of the city unity movement saw prayer grow. This built a stronger alignment between T.N.T.’s project based overview, and well-established city prayer and unity movements producing clearer shared priorities and support.

Nottingham is a city that prays together and has for many years. Nottingham City prayer, T.N.T. , Christian leaders from the churches and the spheres work together to link prayer, the practical needs of the city, and waiting on God for his strategy and purpose.  It demands time from busy people to ensure the alignment happens. Nottingham started 2022 with a Nottingham City Prayer meeting for the city, which included the Christian leader of the council bringing some significant needs and to hear God’s direction. This laid the foundation – and shaped the focus – for the year. 

Nottingham is building a clear overview with priorities that all can understand and support. The wider picture is a mobilised city (and county) church. There is a growing awareness that the churches’ ‘front line’ is with their neighbours in the workplace, the public sector, in schools and other learning institutions as well as in communities and neighbourhoods. Seeing God’s kingdom come has a front line, in the compassion shown to the vulnerable, the shalom brought to different situations and the gift of righteous work and actions to the city. 

T.N.T. helps equip Christians to volunteer/ serve /pray and have a stronger awareness of some of the local needs with workshops on issues like Grief and Loss, Tackling Dementia or Knowing your Neighbourhood. Their networks help link people together. 

City building is complex with a range of challenges. It takes time and relationships. Nottingham has aimed to build a shared respect and honour. They value their interdependence and the fact that success depends on a host of others.