Government's £3 million boost for interfaith projects

The Near Neighbours programme supports grassroots groups which work with Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist organisations.

Funding announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government will help the initiative extend its work in areas with large Jewish communities, including north-west London, Leeds and Bury, Lancashire.

Near Neighbours already runs projects alongside the Board of Deputies and Council of Christians and Jews.

Among the Board-CCJ efforts which have benefited since 2011 are a biblical Hebrew course in Redbridge, Essex; an interfaith initiative at a city farm in east London; last month’s Timebanking event encouraging people to share skills; and the Stamford Hill Jewish-Christian Forum.

Board president Vivian Wineman, who is also co-chair of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, said: “In these difficult times, the government showing support for community relations is of vital importance.

“More needs to be done to support initiatives that bring different communities together, to prevent tensions and promote co-operation.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “These fantastic projects have been met with huge amounts of enthusiasm, creating a sense of lasting community spirit, and helping to transform neighbourhoods in the process. This extra money is a real investment in our shared future."

Last updated: 9:58pm, March 5 2014