Faith groups recognise good work of London Local Authorities

19 Dec 2002

To coincide with the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan and the approaching Christmas period, the Muslim Council of Britain on behalf of a multi-faith partnership including Christian, Jewish and other faith representatives today publicly recognised the good work of 13 Local Authorities in London that are leading the way on involvement of faith communities in their work and on promoting social cohesion” [Joe Ahmed-Dobson, Chair Muslim Council of Britain Regeneration & Renewal Committee, see below].

As part of the “Faith In Local Government” project, part-funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, faith groups are asking all Local Authorities to sign up to a pledge to work constructively with faith groups in all aspects of an Authority’s work. 13 Authorities identified for special praise are:

Barking & Dagenham
Camden
Brent
Wandsworth
Islington
Kensington & Chelsea
Kingston upon Thames
Lewisham
Southwark
Tower Hamlets
Westminster
Sutton
Croydon

The London Central Learning and Skills Council and London Development Agency have also signed up to the Pledge.

While congratulating all 13 Boroughs, three are singled out for special praise: Camden; Kensington & Chelsea; Lewisham.

– Camden and Lewisham have both appointed staff specifically to form positive, practical relationships with local faith communities.

– Lewisham have established a specific grant regime to support “faith based groups” work with excluded communities.

– Camden have staged a series of events in support of the national “Islam Awareness Week” programme that sought to counter the stereotyping of Muslims and Islam in order to promote social cohesion in the Borough.

– In Kensington & Chelsea the Community Development team has been supporting faith communities as an integral part of their work for many years before it became “fashionable”.

In addition to the pledge, the project is providing Local Authorities with case studies and practical “Question and Answer” guide for front-line staff as to how they can interact with faith communities.

The Minister responsible for funding of this project in the Office of Deputy Prime Minister has asked the project steering group to report to him on the progress of the project and once all London Boroughs have “signed up” whereupon he will publicly recognise the important step that these Authorities will have made in working towards social cohesion and inclusion.

A website for the project will shortly be launched containing downloadable versions of the pledge, guidance documents and concrete example of good practice that faith groups and local authorities can each learn from and replicate.

Further information can be sought from Egal Community Consultants – the project managers – at the new project office on 020 7247 1004 or at info@egal.ltd.uk .

[Quotes from Joe Ahmed-Dobson, Chair of Muslim Council of Britain’s Regeneration & Renewal Committee:] [Re “Faith In Local Government” pledge:]

“We aim to have all London authorities signed up to the pledge by 31 March 2003. As of April next year we will widen the campaign to Local Authorities in other regions of the country.”

[Re: recognising good work of local authorities in London:]

“As faith based organisations seeking to represent faith communities we wish to highlight the commitment and good work being shown by certain Local Authorities in London. No Authority has got it 100% right yet but these 13 authorities are making a good start in the process and should be commended.”

[Re: importance of Council’s involving faith communities and role faith communities can play:]

“To be truly inclusive, local Councils must work positively with all faith communities as we [faith communities] can provide access to the most marginalised in society. In some cases faith based organisations can help enable Councils to provide services to the socially excluded in a unique and effective manner that more traditional providers are not in a position to achieve.”

This press release is issued on behalf of the Muslim Council of Britain and Faith In Local Government steering group by Egal Community Consultants. Any queries or requests for copies of “pledge card” and “guidance documents” as referred to above can be made to:

Joe Ahmed-Dobson, Chair of Muslim Council of Britain’s Regeneration & Renewal Committee

Or

Ajmal Masroor, Egal Community Consultants

Or

Egal Community Consultants office (10 am to 5pm), 020 7247 1004