LOCAL PLAN: Schemes such as Near Neighbours bring people together


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.”