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Core principles for partnership with faith groups

A little knowledge goes a long way.

You don’t have to be completely literate in all faiths, but you should ensure you are not illiterate.

Aim to know enough to be courteous and respectful. Resources are available to help navigate the faith calendar, for example, as well as food and clothing requirements.

Relationship is key.

Allowing time to let relationships develop and trust to be built will promote longevity in partnership. Think in terms of individuals rather than organisations. Start with a coffee.

Consider: where do relationships already exist? For example, are there people within your organisation who are themselves members of faith groups?

Have a clear rationale.

Know why you want to work with faith groups before approaching them. Be clear in what you think they can offer, and what you would like them to do.

Share your thoughts and expectations. Try to agree where you want to go before you start the journey.

Know your limitations.

Mutual awareness of limitations helps faith groups and services to compliment one another.

Faith groups reach to the heart of communities in a way that statutory services cannot, but they may lack capacity, resources, expertise and evidence.

This does not mean they are not doing good work, but it may highlight need for training or revised expectations.

Strive for equity.

Make steps to ensure each faith community has the opportunity to engage equally, even if you intend for certain groups to take the lead.

Consider using neutral spaces, or rotating the venue.

Use a capabilities model to determine who you work with. There’s nothing wrong with one faith taking the lead, but you need to know why.


How can faith communities approach you if they have issues they would like to discuss?

Create opportunities for conversation.

Strive to make communication lines as simple and clear as possible. Having a single point of contact may help, for example.

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