Government launches £1m fund to ‘reset’ public sector’s attitude to faith charities

The government is inviting applications from faith charities for £1m worth of funding aimed at strengthening the sector’s ties with councils and central government.

The New Deal Pilot Fund has been launched by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) “to help support faith based organisations to use their resources effectively within their community and to build trust”.

It adds that it wants to help recognise faith groups role in “the resilience of our communities” especially to help with Covid-19 recovery.

The role of faith charities in local communities was highlighted in Danny Kruger’s Levelling Up Communities report.

“More broadly, the concept of the ‘Faith New Deal’ will aim to reset the public sector’s mindset towards faith groups,” says the MHCLG documents to accompany the Fund’s launch.

“Practically, the aspiration is that local public services routinely invite faith groups to co-design solutions to social problems and commission services with confidence.

“It would also mean that Faith groups are supported to enhance their particular strengths in social action by learning from the way that public services design interventions and deliver against outcomes.”

The fund has launched this week and bids close on October 7. During October bids will be reviewed and decisions on successful applications will be made.

Those applying need to show how they plan to support communities in partnership with the public sector.

Support is focusing on projects that combat food poverty, mental wellbeing and loneliness as well as offer advice on employability and tackling debt.

Increasing community engagement through volunteering is another focus.

“Over the last 18 months, I have seen first-hand the outstanding work faith groups are doing to serve their communities,” said faith minister Lord Stephen Greenhalgh.

“Their vital work has helped the most vulnerable members of society during the pandemic with crucial support and services.

“This new fund will draw on that wealth of experience and energy, for the benefit of all.”

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