£250,000 of ‘small grants funding’ is now available to boost diverse communities across the country Communities Minister Lord Bourne has announced today (14 November 2016).
The ‘Common Good’ programme will give pots of funding to projects that bring together diverse communities and different faiths through a range of activities from cookery classes to teaching computer coding.
The announcement comes at the start of Inter Faith Week (13 to 20 November). The first Inter Faith week took place in 2009 to promote tolerance and understanding across faiths and communities.
Communities Minister, Lord Bourne said:
There is good evidence to show that our society is well-integrated and that people from different backgrounds get on well.
However we know there’s more we can do during Inter Faith Week to foster greater understanding and reduce incidents of intolerance across the country.
That is why we’re bringing people together and celebrating what we have in common by funding these new projects, giving lasting benefits to neighbourhoods and making them even better places to live.
Managed by The Church Urban Fund, grants of between £250 and £5,000 will be offered to locally-led projects. This includes extending the small grants element of Near Neighbours to new areas that have seen increased diversity in recent years.
Speaking on behalf of the Church Urban Fund, Executive Director Paul Hackwood said:
Hate and prejudice and the misunderstanding they create have become an increasingly worrying aspect of our lives in Britain.
This fund will create opportunities to work together for the common good of all and to show a way of tackling our differences and concerns constructively. It is timely and much needed.
In Caldmore, Walsall, a community garden led by a diverse group of volunteers was funded by the programme last year. Activities such as gardening and cooking involved the whole neighbourhood, bringing together Polish, Bengali, Pakistani, and white British communities. The garden received just £3,700 in funding but has since worked directly with over 1,300 people including with local schools.
99% of people that have taken part in Near Neighbours projects agree that the projects made them feel more connected to the local community and 90% consider themselves better equipped to take action to change the way their community works for people of different faiths and backgrounds.
Inter Faith Week run by the Inter Faith Network is now in its eighth year and is designed to strengthen good inter faith relations, increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities and increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs.
The Inter Faith Week website carries more information and resources: www.interfaithweek.org/toolkit. Hundreds of events and activities will be happening and thousands of people of different faiths and beliefs will be taking part. The range of activities can be viewed on a map at www.interfaithweek.org/map.
The Community Life Survey shows that almost 9 in 10 people agree that their local area is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together.