In many neighbourhoods across England, different faith and ethnic communities live and work next to each other, yet rarely interact with one another.
Such separation can lead to misunderstanding and a lack of trust or respect for one another, neither of which is healthy for a local community.
Often these are also areas of deprivation, where people share a common concern for a better community, but don’t come together to talk or act as much as they could.
Yet it is local people, in local communities, who are ideally placed to identify and develop solutions that can improve their own neighbourhood.
Near Neighbours brings people together in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in.
to develop positive relationships in multi-faith areas i.e. to help people from different faiths get to know and understand each other better
to encourage people of different faiths and of no faith to come together for initiatives that improve their local neighbourhood
Where we work.
The programme works in a number of key locations across England.
We are present in the northern towns of Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and Burnley as well as Leeds, Bradford and Dewsbury. In the midlands we are working in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Walsall and Dudley, Leicester and Nottingham. In the south we operate in Luton and across most of London.
Each of these locations is covered by one of our local hubs which act as a focal point for much of the work of the programme. A coordinator is based at each hub connecting with local projects and developing the work of the programme.
Near Neighbours is also linked with a number of national partners who provide expertise through their focussed work. Our partners contribute to the programme with training, expertise and resources. Their work is developing the networks and capacity of local communities and organisations through sustainable initiatives that will continue to impact long into the future.
We operate a small grants fund, that provides seed funding for local groups and organisations who are working to bring together neighbours; to develop relationships of diverse faiths and ethnicities and also to improve their communities.
These grants have offered funding to a broad range of work; environmental, social, cultural, artistic, and sporting, that furthers the aims of Near Neighbours to encourage social interaction and social action.
The Near Neighbours programme is administered by Church Urban Fund, the Church of England’s social action charity.
Working for over 20 years throughout England, including multi-faith communities, it has extensive experience gathering local people in transformative community work. It also gives Near Neighbours access to the Church of England’s parish system, which sees a vicar present in every community in the country; opening up networking opportunities with experienced community professionals of faith.
The Church of England’s parish system recognises a duty of care for all and has for decades been working locally with partners in multi-faith areas to foster the better relationships and understanding that help build better communities.
The Near Neighbours board of trustees oversees the programme.
Their role is to govern Near Neighbours by establishing its policies and objectives, ensuring the legal duties of the charity, its finances and operations, are carried out properly.
Our Faiths Advisory Panel.
The Faiths Advisory Panel acts in an advisory capacity to the Board of Trustees. They ensure Board members have access to the particular experience, perspectives and expertise of individuals from the main religious communities of the Near Neighbours programme areas.
Baldev Singh bains
rabbi nicky liss