As a national network of faith-based organisations, FaithAction is aware of the important work faith groups are involved in doing around public health, supporting health and wellbeing outcomes throughout the UK. This role was recognised as being significant in both our ground-breaking report, ‘The Impact of Faith-Based Organisations on Public Health and Social Capital’, and our accompanying Symposium on Faith and Public Health. This brought together academics, public health officials and faith-based organisations to discuss the part faith can play in public health.
However, there was a lack of understanding within public health as to how faith groups can help to improve health in their communities. This lack of understanding can be broken by public health agencies taking the time to understand the work that faith-based organisations do, and coming to view faith groups as part of the “armoury” of public health.
This responsibility does not fall on public health officials alone. Faith groups need to be confident that their approaches to public health interventions work, that they can successfully present their work by demonstrating to public health agencies what their unique selling point is, and that their approaches make a real impact on the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve.
By working together, public health agencies and faith-based organisations are in a position to make real positive change in the health and wellbeing of communities around the country.
These case studies give an idea of the work that faith groups are conducting within their communities and how they can work with public health agencies and the wider healthcare sector.