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

02/05/13 – Affecting the ‘local weather’ of your community

A message from Daniel Singleton, National Executive Director of FaithAction

As we have recently seen glimpses of the sun, it has made me realise what a long winter we have endured; a winter that at times seemed about to finish yet came back with a vengeance. In many ways this is a reflection of the state of the UK economy. We think things are going to get better; that the worst is over and then there is more bad news. Depressing isn’t it? Yet history has shown us that the most difficult and desperate times can force invention and radical solutions which would not be considered in times of ease. At FaithAction we are hearing of different initiatives faith groups are starting, providing ‘services to the public’ and not just public service delivery.


This week Hannah Walker and I took opportunity to go to the launch of the Cathedral Innovation Centre (CIC) at Portsmouth Cathedral. This exciting new venture, which is already being replicated in Southampton and beyond, takes underutilised space (in this case a suite of offices) and uses this to support new business with a unparalleled support programme of business mentoring and a plug into a ready-made a market through the local faith community and related businesses. This week they launched a community share offer, but the initial programme was started up with only £9000, which gave places for 14 new business (9 companies are in place, including a software design, an education charity and social marketing).


Francis Davis, the founder of CIC, writes about this programme and other faith based social enterprises in his chapter in the new FaithAction book ‘Faith With its Sleeves Rolled Up’. (The launch of the book takes place in Parliament on 9th May Hosted by Stephen Timms MP with an Address by Eric Pickle MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.) This book, available soon on Amazon, looks at the contribution that Faith makes to UK society today in all many of spheres, from politics to the arts, from welfare to work to volunteering.


Do keep telling us about your activities [email protected]  so we can share the good news of people in local communities affecting the ‘local weather’ not prepare to just accept the ‘winter’ of the economic situation.   



Universal Credit pathfinder begins in Ashton-under-Lyne

The ‘major benefits shake-up' has begun, the BBC has reported. Ashton-under-Lyne will begin the first Universal Credit pathfinder hereby commencing the slow roll-out of Universal Credit. While explaining how the new system is designed to reduce error, and make people better off in work, the article also highlights existing concerns over claimants’ digital access and ability, issues with the new IT system, as well as issues surrounding claimants’ awareness of the changes.

Visit the Inclusion or BBC website to continue reading.


Government launches care comparison website

Information to help people choose, compare and comment on residential care homes and home care services is now available on NHS Choices.

The new care profiles provide the most comprehensive source of information on care services. Launched this week by Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, they help people to search and compare residential care homes and home care services and make confident choices about registered care for themselves or family members.

Continue reading here.


Big Society Bank backs rent scheme for homeless

A London local authority and a bank that invests money left in dormant bank accounts have become the latest backers for a scheme that buys properties to rent to homeless people.

The City of London Corporation, the local authority for the city of London, and Big Society Capital, a social investment bank, have invested £500,000 and £5 million respectively into the Real Lettings Property Fund.

The fund will buy 240 homes and Real Lettings, an enterprise arm of homelessness charity Broadway, will lease and manage them with support from residential developer United House.

Continue reading here.



Meeting the challenge of Welfare Reform at a local level

21st June 2013; The Studio, Manchester

The conference will help inform the development of local support services networks by bringing together delegates from Welfare to Work providers, local authorities, welfare rights and debt advice services, credit unions and the financial services sector to

  • Learn lessons from the Universal Credit trials and direct payment demonstration projects;
  • Exchange best practice in the delivery of budgeting support, financial education, and debt advice services to claimants;
  • Obtain the latest information on the process to obtain funding for local support and DWP’s requirements and expectations in this respect.

More information available here.


Domestic Abuse Training Conference 5th June – Changing Landscapes

5th June 2013; London

Domestic Violence Coordinators Network conference, open to all those who work around domestic abuse to combat the problems and challenges that are faced.

Topics covered are:

·         Police and Crime Commissioners

·         Domestic Homicide Reviews

·         Health and Wellbeing Boards

·         Impacts of Benefit Cuts

More information available here.


Social Media, Campaigns and Influencing

19th June 2013; London

Level 1 training for organisations with no or limited working knowledge of lobbying, campaigning and social media (eg. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) and who want to understand the basics.

  • Understanding of recent national policy reforms and how this will impact on your organisation
  • Advice on how to develop your own campaigning strategy
  • An introduction to tools you can use to campaign locally and nationally

More information available here.



Learn about Healthwatch

“Local Healthwatch gives communities a stronger voice by influencing and challenging how health and social care services are delivered as well as providing or signposting people to information to help them make choices about health and care services. To be an effective voice for communities, local Healthwatch organisations need to collaborate closely with the voluntary and community sector.”


Regional Voices has published several resources to promote this involvement with the voluntary and community sector, including:

  • An Overview of Healthwatch – for the Voluntary Sector
  • What Makes a Great Healthwatch?
  • The Voluntary and Community Sector-  a Key Partner in Local Healthwatch

These resources can be found here.


Healthwatch Englandhave also produced a video which explains the role and purpose of HealthWatch.

See the video here.