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Consultancy starts interfaith drive in Bradford

10 September 2021

Strengthening Faith Institutions

Faith leaders at the launch of SFI’s Peer Action Learning, in Bradford, last month

Faith leaders at the launch of SFI’s Peer Action Learning, in Bradford, last month

MANY religious institutions and places of worship will need help in facing challenges and financial constraints as they adapt to changing circumstances after Covid-19. This is the view of Strengthening Faiths Institutions (SFI), a consultancy firm that seeks to “professionalise” places of worship to help them to achieve their vision and gain access to more funding.

The consultancy has launched an initiative in Bradford to bring groups from different faiths together to discuss the individual challenges that they face post-pandemic and to find solutions. Called Peer Action Learning (PAL), it will be a “safe and supportive environment” in which discussion will take place under Chatham House rules (nothing attributable to individuals).

Bradford has had to adapt to rapidly changing work conditions, a safeguarding consultant with SFI, Dr Javed Bashir, said. PAL would be working with academics at the University of Bradford, as well as with SFI staff, and new skills and approaches to problem-solving would “hopefully result in well-thought-out decisions and actions leading to positive outcomes”, said Professor Zahir Irani, the deputy vice-chancellor of the University and chairman of Bradford’s Economic Recovery Board.

Common projects for which funding might be sought could include anything from providing a joint foodbank or hub service for disadvantaged people in the community to cleaning up litter, Dr Bashir suggested. He described the initiative as innovative and “a great platform to work together with different faith leaders. I believe other faith communities around the country will learn from this.”

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