Birmingham Interfaith launch for Near Neighbours

A £5 million fund was launched in Birmingham city centre today as part of a series of events to mark inter-faith week. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anita Ward, welcomed more than 40 faith leaders and voluntary sector representatives to the event in the Council House.

She was joined by the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle and the Bishop’s Director of Inter-faith relations, Dr Andrew Smith.

Dr Smith said: “Near Neighbours aims to strengthen existing interfaith networks and build new friendships at a local level by uniting faith communities to transform their neighbourhoods.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available to charities and faith communities to help them start a new project which will bring people from different faiths and ethnicities together. Since the end of September, more than £40,000 has been given out to groups across the 13 eligible wards.”

The fund is also supporting the work of the Christian-Muslim forum, the Nehemiah Programme and The Feast, a charity which brings young people of different faiths together to share their beliefs. Three Nehemiah community workers are due to take up posts in the city after Christmas.

Near Neighbours is a Government-funded programme which operates in four locations: Leicester, East London, parts of Bradford, Oldham and Burnley and 13 wards in Birmingham. In Birmingham it is based at the Faithful Neighbourhood Centre in Sparkhill.

Development Worker, Jessica Foster, said: “We are delighted by not only the number of applications we are receiving but also by their creativity and the range of projects we have funded. At the moment I seem to be receiving one application every day but we are keen that word of the fund reaches every community within the eligible areas of Birmingham and we reach beyond the usual suspects to the grass roots of our neighbourhoods.”

The eligible areas of Birmingham are the 13 wards of Ladywood, Soho, Nechells, Lozells and East Handsworth, Aston, Washwood Heath, Bordesley Green, Edgbaston, Moseley and Kings Heath, Sparkbook, Springfield, South Yardley and Hodge Hill.

For more information please contact

Jessica Foster
Near Neighbours Development Worker
Tel 0121 675 1155 or 07817 853452

Birmingham, Dialogue, Interfaith, Near Neighbours

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