At least they agree on one thing…

The major political parties recognise the importance of faith as a vital element in British society. This has always been the case for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, who understood the importance of faith as a motivator for the Big Society in 2010.

This Monday, the 10th of June 2024, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer addressed an open letter to all faith leaders, which outlined how a Labour government would seek greater engagement with faith communities and empower faith-based social actions.

Of particular note are pledges to introduce a Minister to lead on faith engagement and to promote local faith covenants between Local Authorities and faith groups—two key policies that we have been championing in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society since 2014.

This greater engagement with the faith sector also closely aligns with what we’ve been hearing from you in our What Matters to You? surveys far—you can check out the most recent results below!

And, of course, don’t forget to take this week’s survey—this time, we want to know what matters to you in regards to health and social care!

What are people saying about faith and civil society?

We asked people to name their three top priority policy areas for faith and civil society.  

Equal top priority response is to create a large national fund directed towards faith-based social action and to encourage more collaboration between local NHS Systems and faith groups, both chosen by a quarter of respondents.

We also asked if there was anything else you’d like the Government to consider.

You gave us a bunch of thought-provoking responses, touching on a whole range of different areas. Here is just a sample of what you thought:

Faith groups in communities have first-hand daily experience of the needs and challenges facing individuals, not just in their faith gatherings, but walking through very real concerns and ongoing issues every day. This should be acknowledged and funded appropriately.

Faith is not just for crisis - connect regionally and nationally on how faith can work with gov to defeat knotty issues (e.g. health inequality, social mobility, regional disparity)

Reinstate funding for an inter-faith network.

Phase out faith schools from the state education sector.

Since both sides avoid discussion on funding like the plague they must find others ways to enable better prevention, support and care and better engage the faith community.

The government needs to understand that faith communities are the key to unlocking many of the hardest to reach in our neighbourhoods.

About David Simmons

Senior Project Coordinator

Having spent the first years of his professional life in the City of London, David has spent the past 19 years working in the Voluntary Sector, as a children and family practitioner, and latterly as a social researcher, for which he was awarded a PhD in 2013 with the University of Greenwich.

He runs his own company, Absolute Communication, and has worked with Cinnamon Network, Eido Research, Future Perfect, REACH Community Projects, Refresh in Weymouth, Yeovil 4Family, and Sussex Police, among others.

David is also a musician, singer, songwriter, and actor, having co-produced three musicals, and has also produced a one-man version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.