Faith Communities Play Vital Role in B&NES
Bath and North East Somerset Faith Forum, supported by Faithnetsouthwest, has just published the findings of its faith audit or survey, of the community work of faith groups in its area. The report, Faith Action Audit 2010, has found that faith based groups and organisations play a vital role in the community life of B&NES. It has found that throughout the district some 5,300 volunteers contribute about 5,600 hours of community based activity a week, estimated to be worth £3,600,000 a year.
Now politicians are being urged to allow the different groups’ views on social, political and ethical issues to influence the local political decision making process and consider how they might be involved in delivering services to the community.
The report, Faith Action Audit 2010, was produced after a survey by the Bath and North East Somerset Faith Forum. It found B&NES is predominately Christian (98%) though other groups included Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh.
“There is evidence that people’s faith acts as a strong motivator for their volunteering activities,” said the report. But it added; “Whilst people’s faith gives strength and commitment to their voluntary activity it should not be seen as proselytising but a genuine commitment to their community.”
The report made several recommendations. It said the Bath and North East Somerset Local Strategic Partnership should recognise the faith organisations’ contribution and acknowledge it in the Sustainable Community Strategy.
It urged B&NES Council to build strong relationships with faith organisations and the practical projects and services they deliver and make more resources available to them. It also suggested a named council officer should be identified to work with the communities.
Furthermore, it suggested the Faith Forum itself should promote itself better, work closely with the Council, promote funding opportunities along with the Council, identify local resources to help Faith Communities develop their work and promote examples of good practice.
The full report can be downloaded from any of the following:
Further information is available from Stewart Keiller (Leader, Bath City Church) on 01225 463556/ 07825 293346 or David Pendle (Chairman of Bath Churches Together) on 07850 623574