People should get involved in their local communities and support interfaith action as part of their New Year’s Resolution, according to the Communities Minister.
Baroness Williams urged people to scrap common resolutions like losing weight, and instead work towards better relations between communities.
“Every year people set themselves New Year’s Resolutions to exercise more, cut out the cake or spruce up their home…
But this year I will be making a resolution I can act upon, one to work and engage with my local community more over the coming year.
The minister’s call to action on Interfaith is inspired by Near Neighbours, who do “great work all year round, bringing people together from across different faith and ethnic groups”.
“They need your support to keep bringing communities together.
“So as you’re toasting in the New Year with fireworks or drink or a cosy night in, make sure to promise to participate in your community this year.”
Near Neighbours was set up in 2011 in partnership with the Church Urban Fund and the Archbishop’s Council and is supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The Council of Christians and Jews, a leading partner helps to facilitate events. One example includes a project involving the girls from Yavneh College Jewish School, Ayesha Muslim School, and Maria Fidelis Catholic School; who came together to learn computer coding skills which culminated in a visit to Twitter UK headquarters.
Near Neighbours, in collaboration with community and interfaith charities and organisations run over 1,000 projects across the UK.
One project in West Smethwick, Birmingham, arranged for a nursery to perform a ‘Toddlers Christmas Carol’, helping parents to form friendships. Laura Richmond, organiser for the West Smethwick Near Neighbours’ group said: “It is very important to bring people together and to celebrate everyone’s culture. We all value our community and this Christmas we will celebrate that.”