Inter-Faith

Siddhisambhava writes in 2008 –

“The UK Government is making a three year programme of investment in regional faith forums. The aim is to ensure that by 2011 there is an independent regional faith forum in each of the English regions. This hasn’t really got going yet, from the Governments side, but I’d keep your eye on this development which looks likely to get more underway next year, 2009 (there’a planned national Inter-Faith Week, for example).

“The forums will complement various agencies and engage with influencing the policy and programme of both statutory and non-statutory bodies. To me its potential sounds a little like what’s happened with SACRE’s influencing local education policy, ie inter faith groups beginning to influence many other areas of life and local services.

“This initiative is sitting with the Cohesion and Faiths Division of the Department of Communities and Local Government at the moment, and may also transfer to the CDF (Community Development Foundation) in 2009.

“The link “regional_faith_forum_contact_details” gives contact details for the UK Inter Faith Network, all the English Regional Faith Forums and other contacts. Happy networking!”

GRANTS
A current Government grant scheme is ‘Grassroots Grants’. This aims to help small community groups through hard times.

They say –
‘Since launching in September 2008, Grassroots Grants has made 1000 grants to small, local community and voluntary groups, supporting them to meet the particular challenges they see in their local community. Grassroots Grants is a £130 million programme that aims to invest in a thriving community sector. The programme, which will run from 2008-2011 is divided into two parts: an £80 million small grants fund for community organisations; and a £50 million endowments programme to enable local funders to generate additional donations on a matched basis and invest them in endowments, thereby building their capacity to provide long-term funding for frontline community organisations’.

Click here for more information on Grassroots Grants.

I (Lokabandhu) get the impression that different areas can set somewhat different priorities for how they give out their share of the money – I looked at Islington’s, which says –

Islington Community Chest aims to:
– Support small and new local groups based in Islington with an income of less than £100,000 a year
– Promote a vibrant cohesive community
– Contribute to local regeneration
– Empower people to take an active part in their communities
– Develop trust between people and build confidence
Additional priorities in 2008/2009 are:
– Improvement of local residents’ mental & physical health and independence and choice for older and vulnerable people
– Improving the environment and tackling climate change
– Raising educational achievement
– Improving skills, encouraging volunteering and helping local residents find work
– Contributing to safer communities: reducing antisocial behaviour & crime through drugs and alcohol

Previous Government grants programmes included the £4 million Faiths in Action and the larger Faith communities Capacity Building Fund (FCCBF). Both were administered by CDF – go to www.cdf.org.uk and click on Faiths in Action in the left-hand panel or search for FCCBF.

These grants are generally open to faith, inter-faith, voluntary and community sector organizations (not individuals) at local, regional and national levels in England. Hence Buddhist Centres are certainly eligible – but will be in competition with many other local groups.

General guidance if you are thinking of applying:
* Relate to the fund’s priorities.
* Check whether or not you have to be a registered charity, and whether you need a constitution and the like.
* Check any size limit in terms of turnover.
* Call them up to discuss your application before submitting it
* And please keep in touch with Siddhisambhava if you are considering an application.

Three relevant books are –

Faith, Cohesion and Community Development
By Malcolm James – An evaluation report from the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund (in which the FWBO was very successful)

Faith Communities Pulling Together
By Irene Evison – Accounts of successful faith projects that worked to improve life locally, including Bristol Buddhist Centre’s ‘Vitarka’ school-visiting project.

Faith Groups and Government (£9.95 from CDF), based on the experience of successful community groups. It will help you build relationships with key stakeholders at local and regional levels. Click here for more details or to order.

Most recently (January 2009), Grassroots Grants is a £130 million programme that aims to invest in a thriving community sector.

It is funded by Office of the Third Sector (OTS) and delivered by the Community Development Foundation (CDF).

The programme, which will run from 2008-2011 is divided into two parts: an £80 million small grants fund for community organisations; and a £50 million endowments programme to enable local funders to generate additional donations on a matched basis and invest them in endowments, thereby building their capacity to provide long-term funding for frontline community organisations.

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