Birmingham and surrounding local authorities have some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the country, and the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre is committed to enabling activity that supports people trapped in poverty and disadvantage to rebuild their lives.
Through Thrive Together Birmingham, churches have been supported to develop activities such as a night shelter, foodbanks and money advice. Interserve Birmingham has also been part of the response to food poverty by working with others to help set up the Balsall Heath Food Bank.
Thrive Together Birmingham and the Community Regeneration department are also committed to being part of the solutions to these needs, working to tackle the causes of poverty and disadvantage.
Thrive Together Birmingham (Thrive) is a Christian organisation whose main aim is to support and grow the movement of individuals, churches and organisations who, motivated by their faith, are committed to their local neighbourhoods and to tackling the issues of poverty and disadvantage that exist in those communities.
Who are we? Thrive is a joint venture of the Anglican Diocese of Birmingham and Church Urban Fund, and works closely with Birmingham Churches Together to encourage Christians and churches of all traditions and denominations to really engage locally, and we aspire to see every neighbourhood flourish, with churches playing a full part in enabling their local communities to thrive.
What do we offer? We are committed to creating possibilities and exploring opportunities where there is passion and commitment to a particular neighbourhood or to a wider issue of poverty or disadvantage. Therefore our work is not formulaic and we try to offer a creative approach along with support, advice, connection and access to resources.
We are able to work with you right from the start — from the very first prayerful vision; the birth of an idea and provide support and advice to individuals, churches and projects, as well as signposting to a range of high quality activities and services.
For more information contact us on
Tel: 0121 675 1159 / 1156
“Local people of different faiths, meeting together, working together and changing neighbourhoods for the better.”
What is the Near Neighbours Fund?
The Near Neighbours Fund is a small grants fund aimed at creating new relationships in local communities across boundaries of faith and ethnicity. Grants are available for community groups, places of worship and faith communities that want to start a new initiative in their local neighbourhood.
The fund will support social, cultural, artistic, environmental and sporting ideas which meet this criteria. Within Birmingham the eligible wards are Ladywood, Soho, Nechells, Lozells and East Handsworth, Aston, Washwood Heath, Bordesley Green, Edgbaston, Moseley and Kings Heath, Sparkbrook, Springfield, South Yardley and Hodge Hill.
Near Neighbours Grants can give awards of between £250 and £5,000.
What is the aim?
The overall aim of the fund is to encourage stronger communities in areas of religious and ethnic diversity.
It intends to bring people of different faiths and ethnicities together to transform local communities for the better. First, by enabling opportunities for deeper levels of communication and understanding in local neighbourhoods, and secondly, by creating joint work, organisations or projects which address community needs.
What kind of projects will get funding?
We expect to see three kinds of projects:
- Making Friends – creating First Encounters between people of different faith and ethnic communities and encouraging the development of friendship and neighbourliness..
- Staying Friends – creating Everyday Interactions by encouraging families and individuals to come together regularly, such as eating together, jointly participating in religious and other festivals, encouraging children to play together in a neighbourhood.
- Changing Communities - creating Civil Engagement which gathers people from different faith and ethnic communities to work together to change their neighbourhoods for the better.
All these projects must be rooted in a geographical neighbourhood so new, trusting relationships are built between people who live close to each other but do not already know each other.
The Fund is particularly pleased to receive applications from people of different faith groups or none, working in partnership with people of different faiths and within the criteria. Funding cannot be granted to individuals.
We will especially prioritise small local faith groups and voluntary groups.
How to Apply
Look at the Near Neighbours website www.near-neighbours.com where you can get the application and fuller guidance notes. Forms can be filled in on a computer or hand-written; it can be emailed or posted.
Or you can contact Jessica Foster at the Faithful Neighbourhood Centre (FNC), Birmingham’s local Presence and Engagement centre.
You should send your application to the local parish church You can find your church by using the website www.achurchnearyou.com. They will pass the form on with their comments to the Church Urban Fund. At the same time, you need to send a copy of the application to the FNC. If there is a difficulty, such as there is no parish priest currently in post at the church, or you are confused about the form, do contact the FNC for help.
Community Regeneration in the Diocese of Birmingham
We offer a support service to churches and Christian projects which are already tackling issues of poverty and disadvantage. We also encourage churches to develop a vision for how they might have a greater impact on the lives of people in their local communities and raise the profile of the work that Christians and churches do to address the needs of communities across the diocese particularly with local authorities and statutory bodies
‘In the Diocese of Birmingham we believe that the role of the church is not only to raise awareness about poverty but also to use its resources, knowledge and connections to do something to tackle it.’ Fred Rattley
For Community Regeneration contact Fred Rattley Fred@birmingham.anglican.org