THE UK government announced last week that it will provide more than £1 million to an initiative promoting interfaith integration. The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has announced that £1.3m has been awarded to the Near Neighbours programme. It hopes to build and improve on relationships between different communities. The charity Church Urban Fund (CUF) has also added £100,000 as support for the programme. Past funds donated to the programme have been used to transform communities and bring people together from different backgrounds in the most diverse UK cities. The Near Neighbours small grants fund has given seed capital worth more than £6m to approximately 1,600 projects. These projects have impacted the lives of over a million people and 71 per cent of projects have continued to run after the initial seed capital was spent. The work will be supporting the government’s new Integrated Communities Strategy, which has set out ambitious goals to tackle the root causes of a lack of integration. Lord Bourne, the minister for faith, said he was “confident” that the funding would be used to create a wide range of opportunities for people of all backgrounds. He added: “Near Neighbours have a fantastic track record in delivering lasting changes to many communities across the country. We want everyone to make the most of the opportunities that living here offers and Near Neighbours are well positioned to support government in bringing forward our bold proposals to create a stronger, better integrated Britain.”
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