Faith Forum Established in Northwest England

|TOP|A new faith forum has been established in the northwest of England to give members of faith communities the opportunity to voice their concerns of policy in the region.

The Northwest Forum of Faiths will function as an advisory body to ensure that consultation with faith communities takes place on key regional issues alongside other civic groups.

The official inauguration of the new Forum in Preston was attended by supporter Paul Goggins MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the UK Home Office and members from across the various faith communities.

The Forum, which is supported by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), will comprise of 24 individuals from across the region representing the nine major faith communities around the world, reports Ekklesia.

|QUOTE|Steven Broomhead, NWDA Chief Executive, said: “Faith communities make a valuable contribution to the social and economic development of the region. Through their infrastructure and volunteer work, they play a key role in the drive to improve our local communities and create social cohesion.”

Research by the NWDA has confirmed the major contribution faith communities in offering social care and support to vulnerable members of society, as well as in unparalleled levels of volunteering.

According to NWDA research, faith communities contribute up to £94.9 million per annum to the regional economy and attract 697,114 to the region.

“Utilising the experience and resources of faith communities in delivering services will make a significant difference to the region's quality of life and it is therefore vital that they are fully consulted on regional issues,” said Broomhead.

“The NWDA recognises faith communities as key stakeholders in the region's future and I am delighted to support the Northwest Forum of Faiths, which will ensure that faith communities are effectively engaged in regional initiatives.”

The Forum, developed as part of the Agency’s commitment to progressing relations with faith groups in the northwest region, will help foster closer dialogue between faith communities and the government, as well as other statutory bodies, ensuring that their concerns are taken into consideration in the forming of policy.