Faith, Health and Community Action in Tower Hamlets

As part of their COVID-19 recovery plan, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets  Council decided to look to faith groups as delivery partners to improve health outcomes across the borough. As trusted partners through our work with the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum, the borough’s Public Health team commissioned FaithAction to work alongside local faith-based organisations and places of worship, with the aim of supporting improved health outcomes for the communities who engage with them. We have been working with Tower Hamlets Council on the Faith Health Action Partnership (FHAP) project since January of this year.

Through April and May of 2022, fifteen faith-based organisations and places of worship from across the London Borough of Tower Hamlets submitted proposals for health-related ‘Action Plans’ that they wished to deliver within their congregations and local communities. Ten of these were selected to work with FaithAction as ‘hubs’ to deliver their proposed Action Plans. The hubs are delivering wide-ranging projects, from a mindfulness training course which equips people to deliver sessions within their immediate network, to a Muslim women’s cycling group, after-church blood pressure testing, over 50s yoga and coffee mornings, and a youth project designed to reduce the risks of gang involvement and substance abuse.

Between 5th July 2022 and 5th October 2022, the ten ‘hubs’ supported by the Faith Health Action Partnership between FaithAction and Tower Hamlets have directly engaged 183 participants from across the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. From the data we have gathered, we have calculated that the project as a whole has a wider indirect reach of at least 700 people across Tower Hamlets – which is pretty impressive for small grassroots projects!

Here is some feedback from some of the project participants and leaders:

Project Leader, Globe Community Project, Mindfulness Champions

When they finish their training in December, participants are planning to run the following mindfulness groups in their communities:

  • Men's mental health group
  • Children's hospice mindfulness sessions
  • ADHD Mindfulness workshops for young people
  • Bengali women's mindfulness workshop
  • Mindfulness within a Tai Chi group
  • Workshops at a local school for teachers and teaching assistants

Yoga instructor, Newark Youth London, Over 50’s Coffee Morning and Yoga

I’ve had one lady – Marian – say she wouldn’t exercise at all if she didn’t come here. Yeah, she uses a walking stick…like the first week she was just sat by the wall watching because she’s got a bad back so she wasn’t sure but now look at her!

Volunteer nurse, Christ Apostolic Church, After-Church Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Testing

I had one person, last month, who had stopped taking their high blood pressure medication. When we did the reading and it was through the roof, I told him, you have to start taking your medication again – and he did

Session leader, East London Mosque, Women’s Health and Fitness Programme

The mosque is very central, a lot of people come here to pray so it’s convenient for them, and the social aspect is important. Once you enjoy a session you come back for more, see and feel the benefit and good habits never stop.

Participant, Cycle Sisters, Social Rides for Muslim Women

I don’t have a bike, so I only get to ride if I come to this. Yeah! And – I’ve got two kids – so in the holidays I get those Santander bikes and go out with the kids. Yeah I love it

Participant, Dorset Community Association, Elder’s Health Group

It helps me to keep moving on since I lost my factory job two and a half years ago due to severe arthritis.

If you’d like to know more about FHAP or get involved with one of the projects, you can do so here:

Projects – Tower Hamlets Faith Health Action Partnership (

You can also follow us on Twitter @thfaithhealth

If you would be interested in seeing a project similar to FHAP take place in your vicinity, please get in touch at [email protected]

About Charlie Gibson

Engagement Officer

Charlie works across multiple FaithAction projects supporting the organisations we work with to deliver their work in their communities. She trains and supports volunteers to run Creative English, as well as co-writing the course material with Anne—most recently focussing on Creative English for Health: Caring for my Family.

As part of her client-facing role, Charlie loves visiting the projects and organisations we work with and can often be found joining in with Creative English sessions, having her blood pressure tested, doing a yoga class, or even cycling nine miles around London parks on our Faith Health Action Partnership project in Tower Hamlets.

In 2020, she completed a Masters in Applied Theatre: Drama in Education, Community and Social Contexts at Goldsmiths, University of London. Outside of work, Charlie lives with her husband on a 62ft narrowboat, which is painted the same colour as their favourite bird—the kingfisher.