The Government has launched a 'Faith New Deal Pilot Fund' to build trust between national government, local government and faith groups by encouraging faith groups and local authorities to use their skills to solve local problems together.
Following a review by Christian MP Danny Kruger into the contribution of faith groups to society, the Government says it wants to "recognise the role faith-based organisations play in the resilience of our communities and the importance of local faith groups working collaboratively to respond to societal issues."
The ‘Faith New Deal’ will also aim to reset the public sector's mindset towards faith groups so that religious organisations are asked to help solve local issues more often, so the community can benefit from their experience in social action and faith groups can learn from the methods public services are using.
The scheme is also influenced by the 'Keeping the Faith' report written by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith, chaired by Christian MP Stephen Timms - which provides examples of how faith groups and local government have worked together to make positive changes to their area, such as through food bank collaborations.
The Faith New Deal Pilot Fund will provide up to £975,000 for faith groups to apply for to work with local public services and philanthropists. The programme will fund projects that tackle social issues, including those arising from the impact of Covid-19, such as mental wellbeing and loneliness, debt advice, employability and food poverty.
The outcomes will be recorded and lead to a set of principles for future collaborations between national government, local government and faith communities.
Faith groups who wish to apply for funding must:
- Prove that by working in partnership they can play a significant role in supporting community cohesion by solving local problems.
- Show how they plan to develop best practice in knowing what support faith organisations and communities need.
- Contribute to the 'Faith Compact', a set of principles for local and national government to work in partnership with faith groups.
Entrants must also show how their project will enhance community cohesion and be value for money.
For details on other criteria and the size of grants available, click here.
The deadline for bids is at 11:59pm on Thursday 7th October 2021. You can download the application form here.