More than 450 faith representatives from across the region attended a landmark conference organised by the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and the University of Birmingham on Monday 27th November. Delegates at the ‘Mayor and Faith Conference: Faith in the West Midlands’ discussed ways of
- Unlocking young people’s potential by building new leadership networks
- Reducing homelessness and social need
- Keeping communities safer by tackling hate crime and discrimination
- Establishing ways to work together to make the economy work better for the whole community
Working with a faith-based steering group established shortly after he took office, the Mayor had organised this conference to help him shape priorities and ways of working with different groups affected by these issues. The Mayor’s office will now prepare a framework of proposals for the new year.
The Mayor has already committed to supporting a leadership programme for young activists and supporting University of Birmingham’s Edward Cadbury Research Centre, which will study beneficial contributions of faith communities in the West Midlands as well as best international mayoral practice on working with faith communities. He has also announced a Mayor and Cohesion prize, which is designed to celebrate the best projects involved in cross-community work.
Mr Street said: “I was delighted to see so many people, and it says much that we could have filled the Great Hall twice over with those that wanted to attend but could not because we were full.
“Faith communities and associated charities form one of the greatest sources of strength, vitality and resilience in our community.
“My job now is to progress what has been discussed into ways of moving forward in these areas.”
Co-chairs of the Mayor and Faith Conference Steering Group are Francis Davis, Professor of Communities and Public Policy at the University of Birmingham, and Amrick Singh Ubhi, chair of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham and director of the Nishkam Centre, a Sikh faith-led organisation working for the wellbeing of all communities. Both spoke of the conference as “a fantastic start” and “the beginning of the journey”.
Amrick Singh Ubhi said: “We want everyone who is able to to participate in the regeneration, renewal and restoration of the West Midlands, irrespective of their faith, community, tradition or culture.”