Government confirms funding for Near Neighbours next year

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed that they will continue to fund Near Neighbours for the financial year 2019/2020 at the same level of the previous year 1.3 million pounds. .

Elizabeth Carnelley, programme director of the Near Neighbours charity has commented: “In a period of reduced public spending, it is a very positive news that MHCLG have confirmed all our budget, and a testimony of the extraordinary results of our programme in producing long-lasting social changes in our communities.

Paul Hackwood, Executive Director Near Neighbours and Church Urban Fund said: There are no easy answers and there’s no silver bullet to how we tackle integration across the country. Near Neighbours has created a new way of doing community in England that sees neighbours stand up to voices of hate and insist on a new narrative that rejects violence in favour of integration and social cohesion.

Our networks have been established over many years, and we’re able to reach deeply into local communities and connect people together. I’m excited to see that work continue for a further year as we reach deeper into England’s communities.

Baroness Eaton, Chairman of the board of trustees of Near Neighbours, “I am thrilled to hear Near Neighbours will be continuing its vital work in creating harmony and friendships within communities in England. From visiting Near Neighbours projects in the past, I have no doubt this funding from the government for a further year will ensure an even greater impact for our diverse local communities.

Through ten local hubs in some of England’s most diverse cities and three inter-faith national partners Near Neighbours works to develop positive relationship across different religious and ethnic communities and create opportunities for people to come together and create positive change for their neighbourhood.

Near Neighbours’ Small Grants is an easy-to-access funding scheme supporting local projects that bring people together from different communities and promote social action and transformation. According to a recent research, more than two thirds of the projects have continued to run after the initial seed capital was spent.

These projects have impacted the lives of more of a million people since the start of Near Neighbours in 2011.

In the last round of funding,  in March 2019, the Small Grants have supported 72 new projects and given additional funding to 61 existing projects, mainly focusing on the three priority areas : empower marginalised women, support new migrants and refugees, and promote meaningful social mixing.

Theodora Cadbury, founder of Xenia Women, an organisation in Islington that helps non-English speaker women to learn the language, acquire confidence and build social integration, and that received a small grant from Near Neighbours said: “The funding allowed us to have four intercultural cooking sessions. These kinds of projects really help to build strength in a community: we see the level of confidence being built and people becoming more open to learning about different cultures in a very meaningful way.”

In addition, Near Neighbours run  the Catalyst training programme (to equip young people of different backgrounds to become leaders for change)  and Real People Honest Talk (an innovative programme creating safe space for conversations about difficult or divisive topics).

All Near Neighbours projects are designed to change hearts and minds by bringing together different communities within a neighbourhood so that they can work together on issues of shared concern and common values and building confidence and skills.