Three new reports on partnership working between faith and local government.

Eight years… Wow, that went fast!

So last week, I celebrated my work anniversary at FaithAction – I’ve been the national co-ordinator now for eight years!  It really doesn’t feel that long though, and I had to do the maths to work out that it’s actually true.

They say time flies when you’re having fun… and I can never say my job is boring! Over the past 8 years, here’s some of the highlights that I’ve witnessed first-hand:

  • We were a part of the Strategic Partnership with the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England when it started in 2009, and we’ve been going strong ever since. A lot of our earliest work was focused on helping faith groups identify that the work they do has an impact on the health/wellbeing of their communities.  A few years ago, we launched ‘The Impact of Faith-based Organisations on Public Health and Social Capital’ – the first research in this country that looks at this area.
  • I’ve travelled the country and met with hundreds of faith-based and community organisations, both through our FOAG (Faith Organisations Advice and Guidance) programme and through our Progress Tours.
  • We’ve delivered a wide range of training to faith groups around the country – especially our popular Fast Track to Funding course.
  • We’ve given away over £300,000 in grants to faith groups.
  • Our award-nominated Creative English course has engaged with 36 faith hubs around the country, delivering the course to over 2,400 learners. The numbers speak for themselves: 100% of those that completed the 10-week course reported an increase in their confidence in speaking English.
  • We became the secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Faith and Society, and helped to develop the Faith Covenant between faith groups and local authorities, which has been adopted by 6 areas so far.

But as well as everything FaithAction has done, I’ve witnessed some of the most turbulent times for not only the faith sector, but the voluntary sector in general.  The week of my anniversary with FaithAction, I was also ‘raising my glass’ to a member organisation that’s received some significant funding – after a period of real struggle, things are starting to slowly turnaround. There is more to do – but these small wins make me pleased that FaithAction is making a difference around the country.

Back when I first started at FaithAction, I was told some tips for groups that I always remember. And these tips are still important for faith-based organisations and groups today:

  1. Know your worth – how much does it cost your organisation to do things? And therefore – how much should you charge?
  1. Know your mission – what is it you’re here to do? Don’t get distracted by pots of funding or opportunities that won’t help you get to where you want to go

Here’s to what the next 8 years will bring…

(Where’s the cake?)