Season’s Greetings from FaithAction!
Despite the challenges of the recent times and the struggles that many will continue to face this winter, we have continued to be amazed by the work of faith groups and faith-based organisations, serving the most vulnerable and delivering vital services to people and communities on the ground from all walks of life.
We have been fortunate to have played a hands-on role in some of this activity, and want to share just a few things we think are worth celebrating.
Welcoming and Befriending – Café Connect
- Only launched in March, Café Connect is an exciting new integration programme that has been developed out of the Creative English scheme by Dr Anne Smith.
- The programme has already welcomed 978 BNO visa holders from Hong Kong, offering them a safe space to practice their conversational English, learn about local services and perhaps more importantly, form long-lasting friendships.
- 46 volunteers have already been trained in 9 hubs across London, West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber, delivering a combined 174 Café Connect sessions since March.
- The results speak for themselves: 76% of Café Connect participants asked in a survey saying that it has made them more confident in speaking English. Perhaps best of all, 100% of participants who have attended four or more in-person sessions say they have made more friends since attending Café Connect.
Grassroots Success Stories – Tower Hamlets Faith Health Action Partnership
Another much smaller but very successful project we have facilitated this year has been the Tower Hamlets Faith Health Action Partnership (FHAP).
- Supporting eight local faith settings and organisations to deliver vital health projects to the local community in Tower Hamlets, FHAP have been funding a great variety of health-based projects. This has ranged from activities for young people and healthy eating guidance, to blood pressure checks and fitness sessions.
- 10 FHAP ‘hubs’ have already directly engaged nearly 200 participants from across the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and data we have gathered shows that the project has had a wider indirect reach of at least 700 people across the borough. This is a very impressive number from the pilot of a bold, new initiative.
Levelling Up, the Faith ‘New Deal’ and beyond…
When looking to some of the wider impacts of our work, it has also been a big year for faith in policymaking.
We are extremely proud to be supporting two of the sixteen recipients of the Faith ‘New Deal’ pilot fund, through which £1.3 million is being allocated to faith-based organisations to serve the most vulnerable. We look forward to having a hand in shaping government efforts to build upon the close collaboration that developed between faith groups and local and national government during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With these initiatives and more all still in their early phases, we look forward to seeing what 2023 holds!
In the meantime, FaithAction wish you and your loved ones a very happy festive season and warm wishes for the new year.
The FaithAction team