Near neighbours – How you can help

Near Neighbours is a government funded initiative, administered by the Church Urban Fund. It works to bring people together who are ‘near neighbours’ living in ethnically and religious diverse areas. This week, there was a ‘launch’ event at the Hounslow inter faith centre.

The idea is to stimulate both social interaction and social action. Getting to know one another will lead to new trust and to a new working together on initiatives, with many benefits that come with that. Small grants (£250‐5,000) are made, seed funding to develop friendships and to lead to action, thereby improving communities.

Pioneered in a number of northern towns, Near Neighbours now operates across most of London. Examples of projects are community gardening, youth boxing, breast feeding peer support group and an elderly befriending scheme. The majority involve the young and children and families.

In an area such as ours, Near Neighbours could be just the catalyst to get something new going. The present world political context, demonstrated by recent events underlines the priority of such initiatives. The Hounslow mosque arranged recently a forum for leaders to meet, following the events in Paris – great they got us together.

Do YOU know/have links with people or a group from another ethnic and/or religious background?

This might be through your work; through a school; through your neighbourhood, or you just know them. If so, could you please let me know? This could be just the starting point for a new initiative and we can see where things go.

www.nearneighbours.org.uk

TOM GILLUM