Interfaith and community cohesion project receives Safer Communities Funding (18 April 2018)

A project to improve community cohesion by teaching young people about different cultures and faiths has been funded by the Safer Communities Fund.

Kirklees Council received £4900 from the Fund for their Interfaith and Cohesion Project which focusses on building social cohesion by giving school children the chance to come together and explore different faiths.

The project consists of joint visits to different faith institutions from paired schools across Kirklees. During the visits the children mix and work together in a series of workshops to find out more about that particular faith. vThe Safer Communities Fund was created by West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, in 2014 to give grants to not for profit organisations for projects looking to keep West Yorkshire safe.

The Fund is financed through money recovered from criminals by West Yorkshire Police and prosecutors under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mark visited the project this week (16/04) at the Baitul Tohid mosque to see first-hand the difference the funding is making. Following this visit, the children from years 3 and 4, went on to visit Dewsbury Cathedral.

Mark said: "This is a fantastic project, my thanks to the staff at Kirklees Council, and the schools and faith institutions for enabling these visits to go ahead.

"Improving community cohesion is priority in my Police and Crime Plan and an issue that I know affects feelings of safety. Projects such as this do make a real difference in our communities and I was very happy to be able to provide some funding.

"We all have a responsibility to encourage inclusivity and build relations between communities. Stronger communities promote wellbeing and strengthen our resilience so that we can tackle threats including anti-social behaviour, crime, road safety and the importance of inclusion and tolerance to ensure our communities are safe and feel safe."

Carol Gilchrist Head of Communities at Kirklees Council said ""Kirklees Council works closely with schools and community groups from different faiths to encourage them to learn what they have in common and celebrate their differences. Kirklees is a wonderfully diverse place to live and by helping children embrace their differences; we can help make sure that they grow up to respect and understand each other, and hopefully develop positive lifelong relationships. The money from the Safer Communities Fund helps us to continue delivering these activities."

Munir Ahmed, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, said: "On behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association branch in Huddersfield, I would like to say it has indeed been a great pleasure to have hosted this inter faith event at our Baitul Tauhid Mosque in Huddersfield for the Year 3 & 4 students. We were incredibly impressed with the good behaviour of the students and their ability to absorb and learn about the Islamic Faith in a positive and friendly environment."

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