TiA Newsletter Issue 4: December 2021
Sustainable Public Art Installation Fundraising Campaign
The Sacred Spaces Initiative have been supporting Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre in the development of a ground-breaking and environmentally conscious public art installation to be realised at the Coventry canal basin next summer. Hand Earth Gesture Return is an opportunity to bring our communities together and find a common language, without word, through shared material understanding, connection to nature, harvest, lifecycle and ritual.
Working with lead artists and curators from the UK and India – Rachael Champion, Dolon Kundu, Amy & Oliver Thomas Irvine, Nandita Palchoudhuri, Lucy Tomlins & Jim Woodall – the installation has been designed specifically for, and with, communities in and around Foleshill and the team’s research has taken them from Kolkata and back. There will be many opportunities for the local community to get involved with this programme, from making with clay and straw, to drumming and performance, from early next year. The design reconnects us to our physical world and, through shared material understanding, explores existing connections between cultures.
Pangaea needs our help to make this project a reality. They have just launched a crowdfunding campaign and need to raise £25,000 by the end of the year. They are looking for individuals to support this crowdfunders and local businesses to support. Every donation, large or small, will make a difference. They need 500 people approx. to donate to reach their target. There are also rewards to say thank you for donating – from owning part of the artwork, to artisan flour produced as part of the artwork at Hatton farm, to drumming, chapati and bread-making workshops.
We encourage you to find out more and pledge your support:
“This programme is creative, innovative and joyful. Within the current context and our lived reality, the proposed activity is what is needed. It will help to bring communities and different generations together. The positive energy that it will create will help in the process of healing, redressing feelings of isolation experienced by many during the pandemic. And, with hope, help people, families and groups become active physically and mentally.” – Deepak Naik –
This is our fourth newsletter which we are publishing. Our purpose is to
- keep you informed of the progress related to the Coventry Sacred Space Initiative and other similar work. In this issue, there is a particular significance as the Coventry City of Culture festival got on the way with a special weekend on Faith related events. TiA was involved in coordinating the Swanswell Festival as part of the festivities.
- act as a portal, to a perspective and view from Coventry people with influence and power.
- provide interesting and useful information that could help you in your area of work, interest, or development.
- welcome and invite you and your organisation to share your news, possibly of events, activities and puzzles that stretch the mind.
- stories, that elevate the heart, increase the pulse to act and words that comfort and bring healing.
In doing so, our hope is to help people, communities, and providers connect more meaningfully. Thereby secure and maintain an environment that encourages everyone to prosper, live fully and sense of love for others, nature and that binds all things together. I hope you find the contents of our first issue all of the above, I welcome your comments, suggestions and thoughts
Building Skills and Aspirations with refugees
Coming to a new country and being granted leave to remain can bring many different emotions, and re-ignite past memories of trauma, alongside new responsibilities and stress!
Interfaith Week 2021
A Faiths Compact Workshop
Despite the difficulties of the COVID pandemic, communities across all over the country market Inter Faith Week from Sunday 14 to Sunday 21 November 2021. It is a wonderful statement to be made during these difficult times.
Mental Health Outreach
Sky Blues in the Community’s community mental health work has launched a new venue for MENtalk (men’s mental health project) in Nuneaton.
It is a free service and is currently looking for participants. Each project uses sports and physical activities combined with mental health workshops and socialising opportunities in a sports facility setting.
Tuesdays 11 am-1 pm
MENtalk @ St Nicholas’ Park Leisure Centre in Warwick (CV34 4QY).
Wednesdays 11 am-12.30 pm
WOMENtalk (women’s mental health project) @ St Nicholas’ Park Leisure Centre in Warwick (CV34 4QY).
Wednesdays 6 pm-8 pm
FIT FANS (weight management project) @ Coventry Building Society Arena (CV6 6AQ).
Thursdays 11 am-1 pm
MENtalk @ Moat House Leisure Centre in Coventry (CV2 1EA).
Fridays 12 pm-1.30pm
WOMENtalk @ Jubilee Sports Centre in Nuneaton (CV10 7EZ).
Fridays 2 pm-4pm (starting Friday 12th November) – MENtalk @ Jubilee Sports Centre in Nuneaton (CV10 7EZ).
Each session is led by a member of our mental health team with support from SBitC’s professional sports coaches. Course content varies based on selected modules but ice-breaking and get to know you activities help beneficiaries feel welcomed and part of the team. Beneficiaries participate in a range of sports and physical activities, group exercises and team games etc. We offer a menu of workshops related to mental health such as anxiety and stress management, feeling low, self-compassion, mindfulness, sleep hygiene, healthy eating, substance misuse and smoking cessation, among others.
Please share with your networks. If you know anybody who would benefit, please contact:
Email – Robert.Chandler@sbitc.org.uk
Call – 07845 812 639
WOMENtalk and FIT FANS
Email – Jack.Clemons@sbitc.org.uk
Call – 07494 734 264
Mehru Fitter’s Zoroastrian Journey
I was born and raised in Kenya, then a British colony. Our family was the only Zoroastrian family in my town. We knew the names of all residents in my street, which had people of different faiths living in complete harmony. Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians went out of their way to make us part of their festival celebrations.
(Photo Left – At the annual Peace Walk)
When I was growing up, I knew more about other faiths and very little about my own. I knew my obligatory prayers and the name of our prophet – Zarathushtra, who founded the faith in Persia about 3,000 years ago. I had very little knowledge about the tenets of Zoroastrianism. However, my parents instilled in me sound moral values, which stood me in good stead throughout my life.
The period of the abysmal ignorance of my faith came to an end a few years after my migration to the UK. In 1983, I started my new job in Coventry Libraries, where one of my responsibilities was to run an annual training session about library services for a diverse society. I attended short courses about each faith community. Determined to learn more about my own faith, I became a member of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE); attended conferences and training sessions, read extensively and joined ZTFE’s Yahoo group. My diffidence was replaced by confidence as I went on a journey of discovery.
Zoroastrians follow the simple threefold code of conduct: Good thoughts, good words, good deeds. We are also enjoined to look after God’s creation – this stresses our duty to look after the environment. For us, fire is sacred as it represents God’s light or wisdom. Our sacred book, the Avesta, is in the Avestan language, a dead language.
I have often been asked questions such as: Which religion is Zoroastrianism like? What is the point in reciting prayers in a language you do not understand? What encourages you to continue to be a Zoroastrian in a city with hardly any Zoroastrians? In the distant past, I would have found these questions rather intimidating, but not anymore.
Several years back, I was invited to join Coventry Multi-Faith Forum as a Zoroastrian rep. My major contribution to the Forum was the compilation of thematic multi-faith exhibitions, at which visitors had the benefit of guided tours. I was always swamped with questions about the Zoroastrian faith. Highlights for me are: my meeting with the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, during his visit to Coventry in 2012; addressing the National Quaker Meeting at the University of Warwick; attending a London-based event, marking the 50th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and listening to presentations by Sir Richard Attenborough and the cast of the film Gandhi; participating in inter-faith events; and attending Coventry Cathedral’s 50th anniversary service, at which Princess Anne represented the Queen.
I have had the privilege of representing Zoroastrians at the 2017 Peace Mala held at Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, and at the Saragarhi Day 2017 held at the National Arboretum, where attendees remembered the heroic sacrifice of 21 Sikh soldiers of the British Indian Army, whilst defending a signal station in 1897.
A World Zoroastrian Congress is held every four years. I attended two of them, heard extremely inspiring speeches and met Zoroastrians from 4 continents.
My journey continues even today. I feel privileged to be living in Coventry, where different faith communities have welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like an honorary member of their communities.
Building Skills and Aspirations with refugees
Coming to a new country and being granted leave to remain can bring many different emotions, and re-ignite past memories of trauma, alongside new responsibilities and stress!
Integrate Coventry works with refugees and people with leave to remain to help them to integrate into the wider community of Coventry by: –
- Helping and enabling people with their housing, benefits and money advice alongside therapy and other opportunities to meet their immediate needs.
- The second part of the project is about people becoming involved in the wider community, including a drama group, a social group, a women’s group, trips and other things.
- Supporting people who want to take the next steps and learn about work, plan for the future and gain experiences through volunteering and as an initial step the Skills for volunteering course Voluntary Action Coventry. Employment advice and support is provided by CRMC.
- As integration is a two-way process, we also offer “Working with refugees, a workshop for voluntary organisations that looks at the myths, processes and barriers facing refugees to help develop services and encourage volunteering for refugees and migrants.
Integrate Coventry is a partnership led by Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, alongside Foleshill Women’s Training, Belgrade Theatre and Coventry City of Culture 2021
If you are interested in finding out more or if you know of anyone who may benefit from the project, especially through volunteering please email email@example.com or phone 024 76220381 for more information. We are happy to give presentations to any groups who are interested in the work we are doing.
This project has been part funded by the European Union Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.
A Faiths Compact for City of Coventry
Inter Faith Week 2021
Inter Faith Week took place this year from Sunday 14 to Sunday 21 November 2021 with hundreds of events around the country.
In Coventry, TiA held A Faiths Compact for the City of Coventry workshop on Thursday 18th November 2021.
The workshop attracted 25 people from 7 diverse religious perspectives. Deputy Leader Cllr Abdul Khan and Cllr Pervas Ahktar and other Officers reflected the City. Mathew from Faith Action presented the latest development in relation to the Faiths Compact and the Faiths Covenant. Further details are below:
- Keeping the Faith– this report was produced by the APPG on faith and society last year and looks at the way faith-council partnerships developed during the pandemic. The government cites that the upcoming Faith Compact will be developed based on the learning from this report.
- Levelling up our communities– this report from Danny Kruger MP recommended a new social covenant and ‘new deal with faith communities, which has since been taken up by the government. We expect to hear the outcome any day now of which organisations were successful in bidding to take part in the pilot scheme for the new deal. Again, this report is cited as being part of the basis for the Faith Compact.
- You can read the government’s announcement about the Faith New Deal and the Faith Compact – described as a set of partnership principles for sustainable collaboration between national government, local government and faith communities – that it will feed into here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/faith-new-deal-pilot-fund/faith-new-deal-pilot-fund-prospectus
- The Faith Covenant is a framework established in 2014 by the APPG on faith and society and FaithAction in 2014. 24 local authorities have since signed up. Both reports mentioned above recommend building upon and propagating the Faith Covenant, so it is likely that the Faith Compact will take a similar shape to the Covenant but on a national level. You can read about the Faith Covenant here –www.faithandsociety.org/covenant
John Crisp-Jones from Neighbourhood Watch provided an update of the work to pilot in Coventry a Neighbourhood watch for Places of Worship.
Outcomes of the workshop were,
A response paper to the Government – Faiths Compact
A pledge to agree and sign on behalf of the city the Faiths Covenant.
Swanswell Festival Report
Festivities in the headlines
Besides the Coventry City of Culture festivities, Coventry continues its rich heritage of cultural festivities with seasonal festivities. There has been the Diwali celebrations and you read about it in Coventry Live.
During the time of Diwali, there was also the Coventry Abundance Festival – the Carnival of Lights – which thousands attended. Described as a secular event for everyone it showcased the very best of South Asian talent in the city.
On October 31st, the Muslim community came together in Coventry to mark the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Streets in Foleshill surrounding Coventry’s Al-Madinah Mosque were temporarily closed for the event, which involved a colourful procession.
All Muslims across the globe celebrate the birth of their prophet, and this was the first time the local community could celebrate without restrictions since the pandemic.
As we approach Christmas, the preparations continue in Coventry.
20 things you never kneew about Coventry – from the History Press
If becoming the UK’s City of Culture in 2021 does anything for Coventry, it ought to dispel the notion that the city that sits astride the centrefold of England is a shadowy, dull place that has contributed very little to the nation’s history. On the contrary, Coventry holds plenty of events and characters that have shaped its story and made the city one of England’s hidden jewels. Read on to discover some fascinating tidbits from the rich history of Coventry. Check out the History Press
The UK to hold International Conference on Religion and Belief
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has announced that next summer the UK will host a global summit to promote freedom of religion or belief for all.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) will host a global summit to promote freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) next summer (Tuesday 5 July to Wednesday 6 July) in London.
The Summit will drive collective action in promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities around the world so that everyone, everywhere can practise their own religion or belief freely. It will play a key role in shaping the network of liberty the UK, as a fierce champion of freedom, is building around the world.
Promoting FoRB for all is one of the UK’s long-standing human rights priorities and is a key pillar of the Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy. In February 2020, the UK became a co-founding member of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance. Since then, the group’s membership has grown from 27 to 33 countries, and we continue to strongly encourage other countries to join.
Throughout 2021, the UK has made great strides with our international partners in collective efforts to stamp out intolerance and persecution relating to religious and non-religious beliefs. In May, under our G7 presidency, the UK secured – for the very first time – the inclusion of FoRB issues in the communique the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting.
Funding & Focus Group Invitation
Faith Action would like to invite you to a focus group discussion, chaired by Daniel Singleton, National Executive Director of FaithAction and member of the government’s Places of Worship Taskforce. The focus group will look at the Faith New Deal pilot fund and the Faith Compact. Your opinion matters!
In September 2021, the Government announced the Faith New Deal pilot fund. This new fund came about based on the findings of the Keeping the Faith report (APPG on Faith and Society) and the recommendations from the Levelling up our Communities report (Danny Kruger MP) and will seek to draw in learning from the forthcoming independent Faith engagement review led by Colin Bloom.
The pilot fund intends to invest in a handful of collaborative projects to serve local needs during the COVID-recovery, with the goal of ‘strengthening engagement between national government, local government and faith groups.
In addition to providing a new channel of funding, the Government will take learning from this pilot to inform the development of a Faith Compact – ‘a set of principles for local and national government to work in partnership with faith groups and communities.
As an organisation representing grassroots faith-based and community organisations and as secretariat to the APPG on Faith and Society, FaithAction sees a need to use our own learning as well as the experience of our members and broader network to speak into the development of the New Deal and subsequent Faith Compact, ensuring they build upon and enhance local collaboration. We need to hear your opinions in order to do that effectively.
Please join us at one of three upcoming multifaith focus groups to share your experience of local collaboration, the key successes to replicate and major pitfalls to avoid as the government seeks to strengthen collaboration between each level of government and faith communities.
- Tuesday 7th December at 12-1 pm
- Tuesday 7th December at 5:30-6:30 pm
- Thursday 9th December at 7-8 pm
All three of our Focus Groups are open to members of any faith group, and each group will be asked the same set of questions. Please choose the date that best works for you.
The outcome of the Faith New Deal Pilot fund was due to be announced by the end of October, with work commencing in early November. At the current time, no decision has yet been made. We have been informed that this is because DLUHC has been inundated with applications.
Register your space at the slot most convenient for you at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/220066654287
Charities and not for profit organisations are always searching for funding or how to go about looking for funds, especially when you are not a finance expert! Whilst we CANNOT recommend any funding body, we thought to signpost to some well-established ones. They are not necessarily free, so you will have to take advice and do your own research. The information below is purely for an educational basis.
It is worth checking out the government guidance on charity set up and funding at ‘Get funding to start a charity.
Grants Online was established in 2001 and has become one of the UK’s comprehensive and up to date information resources for organisations looking for grant funding. There are around 5,000 funding schemes available in the UK. Grants Online update its information daily. Check out Grants Online. Subject to subscription.
A database for funding for local businesses, community and charitable organisations. Again, subscription/fee is involved but can save you a lot of time and resources searching for financial support. Check out Grantfinder.
We will highlight others in the future. Please let us know if you use a particular online funding tool that could help other organisations.
New £1 million fund to help faith groups support communities
A ‘new deal’ between faith groups and government to capitalise on efforts to help communities during lockdown is being forged today (9 September 2021) thanks to a new £1 million fund.
From delivering food to front line workers and vulnerable members of society, supporting those who were lonely or isolated and helping vital information get to those who needed it most, faith groups have been instrumental in supporting communities throughout the pandemic.
Now faith groups will be able to apply for a share of the £1 million Faith New Deal Pilot Fund for projects providing innovative solutions to issues such as food poverty and poor mental health.
Projects combating loneliness and isolation, providing debt advice and helping those who were unemployed during the pandemic get back to work are set to benefit from the new pilot.
Faith groups have used their trusted position at the heart of the communities they serve, innovating to overcome challenges quickly and utilising their already well-established volunteer networks.
The funded projects will build on this good work, strengthening relationships between public bodies and faith groups by supporting faith-based initiatives to tackle social issues and boost COVID-19 recovery.
Faith Minister Lord Stephen Greenhalgh said:
Over the last 18 months, I have seen first-hand the outstanding work faith groups are doing to serve their communities.
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.
For further information go to Faith New Deal Pilot Fund