What Counts? The Cinnamon Faith Action Audits and the impact on the ground
It’s the day after the launch of the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit report, and I am looking at the figures that have been gathered from over 50 local areas. I am struck by the thought that this is just a part of the total picture. The results are very interesting – faith groups contribute annually on average:
- 8 social action projects
- support for 1,656 beneficiaries
- 4 paid staff
- 66 volunteers
- 3,319 paid staff hours
- 9,988 volunteer hours
- £111,311 worth of support (paid and volunteer hours, using the living wage)
At FaithAction, we know that for many of our 2000-plus members this will seem a conservative assessment. In fact, it led me to do a quick calculation of our contribution over the past year to 18 months. FaithAction has:
- directly funded over 114 organisations and projects
- awarded 15 organisations for their services to local communities
- supported at least 6 initiatives to influence and shape policies
- directly employed 19 staff, of which 16 full time
- indirectly employed 10 part time staff
- given business to 10 local companies including designers, caterers and travel companies
But behind the stats in the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit report, there are some great groups and individuals worth noting, both big and small.
Canon Steven Saxby, Vicar of St Barnabas Church, Walthamstow, signed the Friendly Places Pledge making a commitment to help the church be a place which welcomes and supports those struggling with their mental health.
The Nishkam Centre in Birmingham is a Sikh faith-led organisation working for the benefit of all communities. It provides a range of services (education, training, health), but most impressive is the Nishkam Pharmacy, the first charity owned pharmacy, built to serve the local area. It was made and funded entirely by donations from the community.
Fatima Women’s Association in Oldham has supported over 60 people to access English language training through FaithAction’s Creative English programme which provides a soap-opera style English class to teach day-to-day conversation skills (including for housing, health and education).
The Asylum Seeker Drop-in Centre runs from a London-based synagogue with volunteers and beneficiaries from diverse communities and offers a package of support for asylum seekers (warm welcome, food, clothing, supermarket vouchers and baby equipment, as well as consultations with lawyers, doctors and therapists). Case Study: What a Difference Faith Makes… to Homelessness
As the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said last night, “The faith communities in this country have risen to the challenge… there will always be people who need not just provision but need provision wrapped up in love… that is why faith is a force for good in our society.”
Even the Police recognise the vital part that Faith is already playing in serving the community, as one senior police officer said last night we the police and faith communities have a commonality of aim ‘to serve the community’.
As one MP said to me, so much good work has faith at a root, once you peel back the layers of organisations doing good in society, there is often a faith root or a person of faith at the core.
We at FaithAction know that faith is too significant to ignore, and we will continue bringing this to the attention of policy makers and funders through our Faith Manifesto and ongoing campaigns.