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Essex faith groups unite for event to celebrate community collaboration

29 November 2016

Faith groups from across Essex came together to develop new ways they can work together to improve the lives of people in their communities.

Organised by Essex County Council, the multi-faith event, which took place at Firstsite Gallery in Colchester, gave people the opportunity to discuss the important role faith groups have to play in establishing strong, healthy and resilient communities through social action and volunteering.

Workshops were held to help attendees better understand how inter-faith activity and better links with the council could improve the support available to the county’s most in-need residents.

The event also gave groups the opportunity to showcase examples of local and national community work, share ideas and perform cultural inspired dance and song pieces.

Cllr Anne Brown, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate and Communities, said: “We have set out a clear vision for Essex and want to be a county where innovation brings prosperity.

“To achieve this vision, we need to work in creative new ways with public, private and voluntary sector partners, as well as individuals, families and communities.

“Improving links with faith groups is an excellent way to reach out to communities, ensuring the county’s most in-need residents receive the help and support they need.

“This event provided the opportunity for different skills, cultures, knowledge and experience to be brought to the table, promoting fresh thinking and encouraging partnerships between faiths and authorities to create more resilient and inclusive communities.”

The Right Reverend John Wraw, Bishop of Bradwell, said: “I very much welcome the lead Essex County Council has taken in bringing together people from the different faith groups across the county.

“There is much that we have in common, much we can learn from each other and much that together we can offer in serving the wider communities in Essex.”

The sentiment was echoed by Sidra Naeem, of Essex Mind and Spirit.

She said: “It is important for different faith groups in Essex to come together like this as it promotes tolerance, dialogue and understanding of different faiths.

“When faith groups come together to support their community it helps raise awareness of what is already out there within a community, which is key in connecting people to the potential help they may be in need of.”