A 'new deal' between faith groups and government to capitalise on efforts to help communities during lockdown is being forged today (9 September 2021) thanks to a new £1 million fund.
From delivering food to front line workers and vulnerable members of society, supporting those who were lonely or isolated and helping vital information get to those who needed it most, faith groups have been instrumental in supporting communities throughout the pandemic.
Now faith groups will be able to apply for a share of the £1 million Faith New Deal Pilot Fund for projects providing innovative solutions to issues such as food poverty and poor mental health.
Projects combating loneliness and isolation, providing debt advice and helping those who were unemployed during the pandemic get back to work are set to benefit from the new pilot.
Faith groups have used their trusted position at the heart of the communities they serve, innovating to overcome challenges quickly and utilising their already well-established volunteer networks.
The funded projects will build on this good work, strengthening relationships between public bodies and faith groups by supporting faith-based initiatives to tackle social issues and boost COVID-19 recovery.
Faith Minister Lord Stephen Greenhalgh said:
Over the last 18 months, I have seen first-hand the outstanding work faith groups are doing to serve their communities.
Their vital work has helped the most vulnerable members of society during the pandemic with crucial support and services.
This new fund will draw on that wealth of experience and energy, for the benefit of all."
The Faith New Deal pilot fund is a response to recommendations made in Danny Kruger's report for government, 'Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant' and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society's report, 'Keeping the Faith - Partnerships between faith groups and local authorities during and beyond the pandemic'. Both set out the ability of faith groups to provide innovative solutions to complex problems and make valuable contributions to all parts of society.
The fund will be open to faith-based organisations to deliver projects to provide community wide services open to all the local population. Additionally, the funded projects will aim to have a positive impact in fostering good relations between people of faith and those of other faiths or none within local communities.