EHRC letter to political parties

On 25 November the Chair and Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission published an open letter to all political parties in Westminster encouraging them to engage with the Commission and calling upon them to do more to heal divisions which have emerged following the EU referendum earlier this year and states “Politicians of all sides should be aware of the effect on national mood of their words and policies, even when they are not enacted.” The letter can be read at

The Casey Review – A review into opportunity and integration

 In July 2015, at the request of the then Prime Minister and Home Secretary, Dame Louise Casey was asked to undertake a review into integration and opportunity in the UK’s most isolated and deprived communities. The report of the Review has been published. Although commissioned by government, the Review was an independent one.  It makes a number of recommendations, including to Government. The full report and executive summary can be found at:


Equality and Human Rights Commission – Guidance on religion or belief

 On Friday, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published a report entitled Religion or belief – is the law working?  The report explores whether Great Britain’s equality and human rights legal framework sufficiently protects individuals with a religion or belief and the distinctiveness of religion or belief organisations, while balancing the rights of others protected under the Equality Act 2010.The assessment reflects the EHRC’s statutory duty to monitor the effectiveness of equality and human rights legislation and make recommendations to the Government about any changes that might be necessary.  The Report can be found at


Along with this, the EHRC has published new online guidance on religion or belief in the workplace. This includes online guidance for employers on key religion or belief topics, including online training modules on religion or belief for line managers (developed with ACAS) and union managers (developed with the TUC). The guidance can be viewed at


New Faith Role Models Programme from Stonewall

Stonewall has a new opportunity for LGBT people of faith. The Stonewall one-day Role Models Programme gives LGBT people of faith the opportunity to explore what it means to be an LGBT role model and the space to identify how they are going to create an inclusive environment for other LGBT people within their faith communities. Stonewall encourages applications from lesbian, gay, bi and trans people from all faiths. If you would like to apply for a place or have any questions about the programme, please visit


Continuing work with refugees

Faith and inter faith organisations and communities are continuing to respond to the refugee crisis. This was a key item on the Agenda of a meeting of the Inter Faith Network’s Faith Communities Forum in November. At that meeting a short opening reflection was given by Rabbi David Mason on bases within the Jewish tradition for responding to refugees and a presentation was made by Hannah Gregory, Head of Partnership Team, Resettlement Programmes, Home Office, on the Government’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the development of the community sponsorship programme. This included information about the Government’s refugee resettlement programme; the ‘Help Refugees’ website; and the Community Sponsorship Scheme which enables community groups, such as faith groups and charities, to directly support refugees arriving locally.


During Inter Faith Week the Joseph Interfaith Foundation launched an initiative for young refugees entitled ‘Introduction to Social Culture of Britain’. The project will begin this January and is aimed at refugees aged between 16 and 26. “Many of our young refugees come from war-torn countries where either they have witnessed or been personally affected by horrific violence. When they arrive in this country they don’t have necessary language skills or knowledge of our laws and social mores. The aim of this project is to inform these young people and offer them support from various professional and religious bodies to help them build resilience to being misled, and help them to integrate more easily into the community and society.” For further information, to participate, or recommend individuals, visit

Report on poverty and social exclusion

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report which brings together the most recent data on poverty in the UK. ‘Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion’ is written by the New Policy Institute. Some of its key points include:

1) In 2014/15, there were 13.5 million people living in low-income households, 21% of the UK population. This proportion has barely changed since 2002/03.

2) The number of private renters in poverty has doubled over the last decade. There are now as many private renters in poverty as social renters. Rent accounts for at least a third of income for more than 70% of private renters in poverty.

3) The number of households accepted as homeless and the number of households in temporary accommodation have both increased for five years in a row. Evictions by landlords are near a ten-year high.

4) The proportion of working-age adults in employment is at a record high. Full-time employees account for 62% of the growth in jobs since 2010. The proportion of young adults who are unemployed is the lowest since 2005.

5) The number of people in poverty in a working family is 55% – a record high. Four-fifths of the adults in these families are themselves working, some 3.8 million workers. Those adults that are not working are predominantly looking after children.

6) 1.4 million children are in long-term workless households, down 280,000 in four years. Excluding lone parent families with a child under five, 55% of these children have a disabled adult in their household. Once account is taken of the higher costs faced by those who are disabled, half of people living in poverty are either themselves disabled or are living with a disabled person in their household.

To download the full report see: file:///C:/Users/Jo/Downloads/2016_mpse_uk_2016_final_report.pdf. To read a summary of key findings, click here:

Muslims Like Us

Faith Forums for London published this article originally from the Huffington Post, written by their Director Mustafa Fields, in response to the BBC’s series ‘Muslims Like Us’. It’s interesting and worth a read.

Digital marketing for Charities

A 12-step guide to digital marketing for charities, compiled by Flagship Consulting, which addresses the recommendations made by the Charity Commission last year that aimed to help charities keep pace with digital change. Access the guide here:

 Faith at the end of Life

Public Health England’s resource on ‘Faith at the end of Life’ aims to help frontline professionals and providers working in community settings and commissioners maintain a holistic approach to the people dying, caring or bereaved.

It provides information to help ensure that commissioning and delivery of services and practice takes account of spiritual needs of six faith groups in England and remains appropriate to the community setting in which they work. The resource can be downloaded at

Race report: Healing a divided Britain

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published the biggest ever review into race equality in Britain across every aspect of people’s lives, including education, employment, housing, pay and living standards, health, criminal justice and participation. It reveals that while for certain people life has become fairer over the past five years, for others progress has stalled and for some– in particular young Black people – life on many fronts has got worse. The report can be found here:

Bristol Black Carers

Bristol Black Carers supports carers and those whom they care for to access mainstream care and health related public services.  They provide regular support group meetings, organise trips and activities to give carers a break and can offer support, advice and information, either over the phone, at their offices or a home visit can be arranged. See their website here:


The Safeguarding Board provides all faith communities with information, guidance, discussion and training on how to best think about the safety of all members of the faith community especially children and any adults who may be at risk. For a full list of all their training courses see: For a more detailed discussion contact about training for specific groups, please contact


 Awareness of Forced Marriage

Recognise the signs of forced marriages. It is estimated that approximately 8,000 to 10,000 forced marriages of British citizens take place every year often resulting in devastating long term consequences for the victims. For more information download this resource pack and raise awareness across your organisation:


Faith and Domestic Abuse: Recommendations for faith leaders

Faith Action has launched a publication which is a collection of recommendations for faith leaders on how to deal with domestic abuse in their communities, aimed at starting an oft-neglected but vital conversation. The recommendations included in the publication come from a series of interviews held with faith leaders, faith-based organisations and domestic abuse organisations. A copy of the Recommendations can be downloaded from