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Strawberries, honey, and a pineapple

29 November 2013

FOR ten years, the Anchor Project at St Clement's, Bradford, has been challenging local poverty, encouraging relationships between communities, and bringing older people, young families, and minority groups together.

In the parish, some 86 per cent of the people are of Asian or Asian-British heritage, and mostly Muslim. Only six per cent class themselves as Christian, the project co-ordinator, Indi Elcock, says. Yet the Christians have set themselves "the exciting task of meeting people's needs while encouraging relationships across barriers of faith, culture, language, and age".

They have enabled people to do things for the first time. Toddlers have eaten strawberries they planted themselves, and children have been taken to see farm animals, as well as to a library. Local beekeepers have sold their honey, and many residents have discovered gardening. One entrant for the competitive annual gardening competition even managed to grow a pineapple.

Adults have also been encouraged in their English-language and reading skills. Linda White, a member of the St Clement's congregation who chairs the project, says: "We've seen many people visit a different faith's place of worship for the first time, and - maybe more significantly - we've seen individuals have meaningful conversations with people very different from themselves. . .

"Through many different ways, we've been privileged to build up trusting relationships with our neighbours."

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