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The East of England Faiths Council

The East of England Faiths Council was formed to facilitate the major faith traditions represented in the region in making input to relevant strategy and issues, to act as a clear point of contact for public, private and voluntary bodies; to support local inter faith and faith activity; and to promote the contribution of faiths to the life and well being of the region.

The East of England Faiths Council closed its operation on 31 March 2013, due to funding cuts, after 11 years of serving the region through supporting faith and local inter faith initiatives, and fostering good relations between the faith and public sectors. Thanks to the time, commitment and energy of its Board members and people of many faiths and none, it leaves a legacy of information and good relations, from which it hopes others will continue to benefit.

We have produced a wide range of research reports, guidance documents and other publications. These are still held on the FaithNetEast web site, the EEFC information hub, where you will find a full list of the publications or see below. These can be accessed and downloaded as pdfs, but please note they are no longer being updated.

The East of England Faiths Council has also produced a calendar of faith festivals, which is valid up to December 2013.

Research, Reports and Publications

All EEFC publications are held in full, downloadable form on the FaithNetEast web site. The summary below gives an outline of each and provides a direct link to the document.

Annual Report for the East of England Faiths Council 2011-2012
During the period of this report, the organisation has consolidated the changes made in the previous year, which were necessitated by a reduction to its capacity and income. The Board decided that the main focus of its activity should be on fostering good relations between faiths and the public sector, and on supporting the capacity and operation of Local Inter Faith Organisations (LIFOs) in the region. EEFC is grateful to all those involved, not only for the monies received but also for their generous commitment of time and experience to EEFC’s work.

10 Myths Busted
A number of myths surround contracting to faith-based bodies to deliver publicly funded services and can obstruct the fair access of such bodies to public funding and tendering opportunities as part of the third sector. Some of these myths, followed by the facts in each case are set out in the document.

Believing in our Environment
Produced with partners the Environment Agency, CRN and Akashi, this leaflet gives the approach of each major faith tradition to the issues, lists resources, and gives suggestions for action.

Building for Faith, 2009
A guide for faith groups who are considering moving or extending premises – basics about dealing with the planning process. Extensive list of resources in the region.

Councillors and faith groups, 2012
Governments of all complexions have recognised the value of involving faith groups in democratic processes. This document, based on research and experience in the field, is intended to be useful to Councillors who may want to engage with faith groups in their locality and beyond. It considers possible reasons for doing so; the likely benefits; and the practicalities of engagement.

Empowerment and Faith Communities Report
This report, from research in 2009, was designed to identify issues around the empowerment of faith communities and their ability to influence decisions at local level in the East of England. Key findings and recommendations for future action are given.

Faith and Sexual Orientation Report 2008-09
This research was funded by Capacity Builders for the regional VCS Equalities Group to review the current body of knowledge in relation to faiths and equalities and to set this within the context of some of the local experiences of people of faith in the Eastern region. Concludes with recommendations for future work.

Faith Groups and Migrant Workers Report
In 2008 a research team commissioned by EEFC contacted statutory, professional and voluntary bodies within East Anglia in an attempt to gather and collate relevant information relating to faith groups running migrant worker projects and of the support they receive.

Faith in Action
This 2003 report, on faith communities and how they generate social capital in the East of England, provides examples of the range of service provision and makes recommendations for how this can be supported by the public and voluntary sectors.

Faith in Democracy
A conference, organised by Hertfordshire County Council, the General Medical Council and East of England Faiths Council, held in Stevenage on 26 January 2012. Presentations were made by Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Public Affairs for the Church of England; David Canning, Cabinet Office; Warwick Hawkins, Department for Communities and Local Government; Ila Chandavarkar, MENTER; and Rt Hon John Battle, Leeds Community Organising.

Faith in New Developments: Partnerships, People and Places
In November, 2012 EEFC published this guide by Edward Cearns, Cearns & Co, with additional material by Revd. Tony Barker, Priscilla Barlow and Jenny Kartupelis. This one publication is for all stakeholders in the planning process for new major developments.

Faith in Public Life: the big questions
A conference, organised by Essex County Council, Parliamentary Outreach and East of England Faiths Council was held in Monday 27 June 2011, in Chelmsford. The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, opened the event which followed on from the successful conference The Big Conversation held in Cambridge in January 2011. Delegates had asked for more time for debate and to follow up on specific topics, and this event was designed to give those opportunities. It also provided invaluable information about how to interact with central government.

Faiths and the Economy Survey May 2009
Following a meeting between the East of England Development Agency and several third sector regional infrastructure bodies in the early part of 2009 it was agreed to conduct a survey of groups associated with the East of England Faiths Council to look at the impact of the credit crunch on their current and future activity.

Funding Guide for Faith Groups in the East of England
Produced by CDF, this guide is designed to help faith groups in the region with their fundraising. It is a brief snapshot of some of the many different resources and funding streams available.

Guidance on Governance and Constitutions for Local Inter Faith Groups
This document provides suggestions for Local Inter Faith groups regarding governance and constitutional arrangements. Inter Faith Groups are generally quite small with limited resources and governance may seem daunting but it is worth getting it right from the outset to avoid longer term problems. A copy is available from:

Hindu Presence Research
This 2008 research gathered views of Hindu Community groups and individuals in the region on their role in civic life.

Into the Future: Signposting to information and advice for Local Inter Faith Organisations in the East of England, Issue One, March 2013
The EEFC has worked with local inter faith groups to facilitate them networking together and with public sector partners; to offer training; to undertake relevant research, and to give information and advice whenever requested. This leaflet is designed to answer some of the questions that we have found are often raised by local inter faith groups, and to act as a handy guide to information found in the EEFC publications and from other organisations.

Jain Communities in the East of England
A 2009 survey of Jains in the region and their willingness to engage in local and regional civic life. The report highlights key findings.

Local Inter Faith Activity in the East of England
As part of its programme of support for increasing inter faith dialogue and action across England, in 2008 CLG funded the East of England Faiths Council (EEFC) to undertake preliminary research into, and a survey of local inter faith work and organisations.

Local Inter Faith Bodies: Structure and Membership 2011
From time to time, the East of England Faiths Council is asked by local inter faith bodies about how they should make decisions on their organisational framework and patterns of membership. While we cannot give formal advice or guidance on this, because it is essentially a matter for local decision by each group, we hope that this background information and suggestions of some points to consider may prove useful.

Local Inter Faith Organisations Survey 2011
LIFOs are the lifeblood of vital faith interaction across the country: they foster good understanding between people from all areas of life, culture and belief; contribute enormously to their locality by making input to plans and policy, providing information, and creating opportunities to learn; and provide individuals of faith with the rewards of sharing their time and knowledge with one another. When it became clear that the East of England Faiths Council would need to scale back its work programme substantially, given the loss of significant funding from central government, we determined that an area of activity which should not suffer, would be that of supporting such local organisations wherever and whenever we could. The intention of this survey was to ensure that our resources would be applied where they were most wanted and effective.

Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) Boards: Role and Responsibilities of Faith Representatives
The EEFC promotes the value of faith representation on every LSP and supports representatives and their nominating inter faith bodies where these exist. These guidelines on the role are intended to be useful to people representing faith communities on LSPs in the East of England.

Making the Most of Localism in Cambridgeshire: opportunities and challenges for Faith Groups
The closing address by the Bishop of Huntingdon, the Rt Revd David Thomson at a conference “Faith and Stronger Communities” organised by Cambridgeshire County Council and the East of England Faiths Council, held on 15 November 2011, summing up the discussions of the day under three headings, provision, partnership, principles, and exploring the opportunities and challenges presented.

Media Relations, a basic guide for faith and inter faith groups in the East of England
This short guide has been produced to help you get your message across and to develop positive relationships with your local media. It covers the basics of press releases, interviews, and dealing with issues and crises.

Offender Management Research in the East of England
Commissioned by the EEFC in November 2008, this research assessed the current level of involvement in offender management among faith groups across the region. It highlights their important role and the required environment to best support this.

Putting on an event
Notes from a presentation given at the East of England Faiths Council Inter Faith Week Preparation Day, July 2012. This document lists things to consider when organising an event.

Religious Literacy Training in the East of England
This September 2008 report explores the training on religion and belief provided within, and procured by, local authorities based in the East of England. In so doing it highlights the scope, strengths and weaknesses of training in religion or belief; looks at gaps or constraints in uptake; makes strategic recommendations for regional coordination of training and considers how learning from the East of England might be applied more widely.

Sikh Presence and Relationships in the Region, November 2010
Sikhs are the fourth largest religion in the UK, but the fifth largest in the East of England. There are regional variations, both in terms of Sikh population and also places of worship and engagement with local interfaith forums/councils. This survey covered modi operandi of Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations in the region, and also national Sikh issues which concern regional Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations.

Survey of Councillors and Faith Groups in the East of England, 2012
Faith groups find it effective to interact with their Local Authorities through elected members as well as officers, and Councillors may wish to work with faith groups on a range of matters. This survey assesses the level of interest by Councillors and whether/how they may need support in their engagement. It includes practical recommendations.

Working and Consulting with Faith Communities in the East of England
A regional guide to resources and practical information (February 2008) intended for public and other bodies who interact with faith groups in the course of their work.

Working together: Faith Groups and Government. A brief guide to essential information and resources, 2012
This guidance aims to help faith groups by explaining key points about the nature of local and national systems of governance, and giving basic information and signposting to make communications and relationships easier.

Working with SACREs: an introduction for Local Inter Faith Organisations (LIFOs) in the East of England
SACREs have an important role to play in supporting RE and in contributing to the raising of standards in the subject. LIFOs have been formed or developed by the involvement and encouragement of LAs who see them as a crucial part of engaging and consulting with local communities. LAs are responsible for providing support for their SACRE, and in practice the effectiveness of a SACRE will depend very much on the quality of that support. This document explores a number of possibilities for partnership working between LIFOs and SACREs.

Working with Volunteers
Notes from a presentation given at the East of England Faiths Council Inter Faith Week Preparation Day, July 2012. This document is designed to help local interfaith organizations to work with volunteers for a one-off event.

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