08 / 11 / 21
By Nick McDonald
Since 2017, F&BF have had the honour of hosting the London Faith & Belief Community Awards every year. These are the first awards to shine a direct spotlight on the wide variety of grassroots community services driven by London’s diverse faith and belief communities. As we enter our 5th year of awards, the importance and need for the event is ever more necessary.
When society face issues and struggles, faith and belief groups are always there, leading the change and making a difference. Be it offering practical support, spiritual guidance, community outreach or any number of society-driven tasks, faith and beliefs group are a force behind it all. They are at the heart of London’s diverse neighbourhoods, and work tirelessly to ensure that collective action trickles down to the margins of our society.
Dr David Dangoor, Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London and Chair of Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Greater London’s Council on Faith said: “By supporting F&BF’s London Faith & Belief Community Awards, we gain the opportunity to meet and engage with those who have made it their mission to increase wellbeing within their local community; helping individuals build a sense of belonging within London and building bridges across communities of all faiths and beliefs.”
This year, our 5th London Faith & Belief Community Awards – taking place online on 29th November – will act as a celebration of the 150+ winners who have made a change in society over the last 5 years, and welcome in a new group of 35 faith and belief group winners, 52 recognised projects and 7 recognised individuals.
Each year we give out 40 awards of £500 to enhance the work of these inspirational projects.
Award winners will be recognised in 5 different categories: Health and Wellbeing, Inspiring Youth, Promoting Inclusion, Supporting Women and Community resourcefulness in response to COVID-19.
Health and wellbeing
Taking care of your mind and body is vital to keeping safe and motivated, and many Faith and Belief groups and projects are committed to ensuring all members within their communities have the capability to do so. Previous award winners in this category include The Delicate Mind from 2018, who works with faith leaders, teachers and mental health experts to combat the stigma around mental health, and Sew London Project CIC from 2020, who focus on providing fashion and creative vocational training to help ex-offenders, young people who have had challenges with formal learning and others, gain self-employment and employment within the creative, textile and apparel industry.
This year we are happy to introduce 5 more winners to this category: BAME Domestic Abuse Recovery Counselling Programme, Healthy Living Platform, Sunday Assembly, Vanik Council UK and Wolf Fields Community Nature Reserve. This wide range of winners work a diverse mix of projects, including encouraging healthy and sustainable eating and providing emotional and psychological support for victims of domestic, sexual, and associated abuse.
Many faith and belief groups and projects are committed to ensuring the youth within their communities have access to services that inspire, teach, and enlighten them. Two examples of previous award winners in this category include The Anti-Tribalism Movement from 2018, who offer a range of programmes, to promote their values of peace and equality, and to encourage a dialogue on the issues faced by young Somali people in the UK, and Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band London from 2020, an inspiring pipe band who works with young people – and put on amazing performance at last year’s awards!
This year will see 5 more groups and projects win in this category: I AM IN ME CIC, JCORE’s JUMP Befriending Project, National Parents and Youth Open Forum, Outbreak and The Family Mediation Centre. These groups work tirelessly to inspire youth and create a better society for them and others, including by empowering black parents who are going through Local Authorities Safeguarding and Child protection issues and educating the community in Hackney to reduce the death rate of young people due to knife crime and gang culture.
There exists many groups and projects across London that fight tirelessly to break down the barriers faced by diverse communities and individuals within the city, working at the intersections between faith, belief, and other identities, to create inclusive spaces for all. Previous award winners in this category include Sarbat LGBT Sikhs from 2019, who address, tackle and promote LGBT+ issues from a Sikh perspective, and Stand Up! Education Against Discrimination from 2020, who provide anti-discrimination education to young people in secondary schools.
5 more winners will join this vital category this year: Bell Farm Christian Centre, Becontree Heath Islamic Society, Hidayah LGBTQI+, Inclusive Tamil Arts and The Mosaic Community Trust. These groups work hard to make all members of society, no matter their faith, belief, background or identity, feel welcomed and included through project that include addressing issues of religious intolerance and delivering tailored, creative, and informative workshops to tackle some of social injustices felt within Tamil communities.
Women in faith and belief are carers, friends, organisers, teachers, creators and leaders –they provide services to their communities that strive to make real change and progress, and they deserve to be recognised and celebrated. There exists many groups, organisations and projects that attempt to do this and more, giving a platform for women to make change, and providing care and support to women in need. This includes previous winners such as Nisa-Nashim from 2019, a Jewish and Muslim women’s network, and Teen Action from 2020, who provide training and support to Orthodox Jewish young women.
This year, 6 more groups will range these vital projects in this category: Faiths Against Domestic Abuse, Goldstar Skills Programme , Harrow Care Plus, Peninim, Sisters in Business and WAND. Faith and beliefs work to support women, and run by women, in various ways such as supporting Muslim women entrepreneurs and addressing the problems facing women in isolated and excluded communities.
Community resourcefulness in response to COVID-19
The global pandemic of Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the lives of Londoners. Projects within this category, introduced in 2020, quickly adapted their services and/or through swift innovation created new projects with a focus on the common goal of assisting those affected by the pandemic. Previous winners include Connect & Care Project, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and Al Madina Mosque.
14 more projects will be winners in this category: Aishah Help, Alvina’s Food Bank, Brent Chinese Association, Caritas Westminster, Centre of Help and Hope, Community Senior Letters, Council of Gurdwaras South East, Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara East London, Muslim Welfare House, Neighbours in Poplar, Rainham Foodbank, Samafal Families Association, St Barnabas Church and Transform Bromley Borough. Work in these groups includes numerous foodbanks, initiatives to tackle social isolation and providing the COVID-19 vaccination with support and education.
These winners are all proof of the vital work that faith and belief groups are doing across London, to make our diverse city as inclusive, supportive and inspiring as it should be. They deserve to be highlighted and celebrated – join us in doing so at our online ceremony on 29th November, 7-8:30pm. Celebrate five years of London’s unsung heroes getting the spotlight they deserve!
Register to attend the online event here!