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Home > Action Zones > Politics and Social Action > Bristol Faith Audit


By Simon Bale, Chair of Bristol Multi-Faith Forum

Faith audits are increasingly recognised and valued, and the faith communities of Bristol are
now part of the story. After some delays, the Bristol Multi-Faith Forum are now pleased to be
able to launch the report of a faith audit done during 2010, and the findings are both
unsurprising (for some) and important (for all).

For those who are part of a faith community, it comes as no surprise to discover that we are a
fundamental, though often hidden, feature of Bristol’s civil society. Faiths support and deliver a
wide range of community services such as child care, support for homeless people, options for
healthy living, family support and care for older people. Such provision has been going on in
Bristol for many years and has become the bedrock of many neighbourhoods across the city. It also contributes significantly to the
economic activity of the city.

Our report on this activity does not describe each and every instance of such work, but does draw together come important
features of them all, not least of which is the increasing opportunities faith communities provide for partnership with broader
aspects of civil society such as Bristol City Council and the emerging network of neighbourhood partnerships. As pubic services
are stripped back to basics, the contribution from faith communities has become even more significant and public agencies are
increasingly interested in the work we already do.

It is good to be noticed, of course, but such interest brings its own dangers. Faith communities work this way because that’s the
way things have grown to be. Public sector involvement could distract from our essential values and vision. As faith communities
we should be careful to engage on our terms and not be seduced into chasing ‘bright, shiny new opportunities’.

The full report is available to download from the Bristol Multi-Faith Forum website: www.bristolmultifaithforum.org.uk

For more information or to obtain a paper copy of the report, contact Simon Bale: or Alistair Beattie: