The Contextual Theology Centre is one of four local hubs for Near Neighbours – a £5 million programme to promote interaction in multi-religious, inner-city communities. The Revd Timothy Clapton is the Near Neighbours Co-ordinator (East London).

Funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and administered by a new charity set up by the Church Urban Fund and Church of England, this programme has two key objectives:

  1. Social interaction – to develop positive relationships in multi-faith areas i.e. to help people from different faiths get to know and understand each other better.
  2. Social action – to encourage people of different faiths, or no faith, to come together for initiatives that improve their local neighbourhood.

Near Neighbours is not a national programme. It is focussed on East London (served by the Contextual Theology Centre) the M62 mill towns (served by Bradford Churches for Dialogue and Diversity), Leicester (served by the St Philip’s Centre for Presence and Engagement) and east Birmingham (served by the new Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre).

The boroughs covered by eastern London programme are Greenwich, Hackney, Islington, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. Within these boroughs, certain key areas have been identified where the funding and support will be targeted.

The Near Neighbours Fund has been set up to help local initiatives that build cross-community relationships i.e. people of different faith groups and those of no faith, working together through social action in their community to form closer relationships.

The fund makes grants of £250 – £5,000,  administered through the Church Urban Fund via local parishes.  More information on this is available at the Church Urban Fund’s Near Neighbours website.  The fund is now open for applications.

Contact Tim on 020 7780 1600 or nearneighbours@theology-centre.org

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