You said, we did…
Reviewing our work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society this week, I was struck by the main findings from our last year of work. It is clear to see how these needs are now reflected in work done both within FaithAction and by others over the past few months, and have been highlighted at a national level across the board.
Last year FaithAction brought 26 member organisations from across the country to speak to parliamentarians in Westminster about the solutions that they bring to needs within their communities, and the barriers they face in this work. We looked at a diverse body of work, from ‘welfare to work’, to ‘children and young people’ to the wider world of ‘international aid’. At FaithAction we have taken on what we’ve heard, and we want to provide practical responses.
Below we’ve identified some of the main issues faced by faith based organisations in service delivery – and some of the responses we have provided and observed on a national level:
- Local authorities and grant-making bodies appear cautious and uneasy about faith playing a part in service delivery. This results in many faith-based organisations downplaying the role of faith in their work.
- The ‘faith logic’ is a difficult thing to articulate to local authorities, however, taking the ‘faith’ out of ‘faith-based’ work takes the heart and driving force out of these initiatives
FaithAction is working with the APPG on Faith and Society to form a ‘Covenant’ which can be adopted by cities across the UK. In light of new opportunities and challenges for the public, private and civic sectors that will be faced in the coming decade, the Covenant commits local authorities to the involvement of faith communities in the redesign and reshaping of public services, and faith communities in their responsibility to actively contribute to the forming of local solutions and to work in open and inclusive manner.
The Faith in the Community report published by Evangelical Alliance in June 2013 focuses on building strong working relationships between local authorities and religious communities. To this end, Evangelical Alliance is also running a series of workshops between faith groups and local councils.
The Demos report Faithful Providers, published in January 2013, looks at the role of faith groups in providing public services.
- Research on initiatives and solutions that faith-based organisations bring to their local community across the world remains largely untapped – the resources that can come with Faith-based organisations are significant and include a large base of volunteers, resources, and a motivation and drive to do the work that they are doing which is unique to faith groups.
FaithAction is partnering with member organisations to form an innovation hub, identifying new technological and organisational responses to unmet needs, supporting local initiatives and user learning to influence wider change.
The Cathedral Innovation Centre is supporting faith based organisations who want to support business start-ups, job clubs, and employment support.
Do you identify with these issues? What is your organisation doing to affect community change and provide solutions to unmet needs? We would love to hear from you and to connect you up with the FaithAction initiatives highlighted above.
Email the FaithAction team at [email protected] or give us a call on 0845 094 6350