800th Grant Award

800th Grant Award

Near Neighbours celebrates milestone award of its 800th Grant; supporting a Jewish led group as they promote peace and unity through a community art installation.

Near Neighbours works to support people of different faiths and ethnicities so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in. Its small grant fund has recently awarded its 800th grant to the Larches Trust, connecting Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Muslim residents in Barnet in a statement of peace across faiths in their local community.


The Event

We are celebrating this milestone with an event on the 23rd February, recognising the good work that the Larches Trust are doing. It will be held at the Assembly Hall at Lambeth Town Hall from 1pm to 2.15pm. Guests will include Stephen Williams MP, Under-Secretary for the Department of Communities and Local Government; Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark; Rabbi Natan Levy, Interfaith and Social Action Manager at the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Baroness Margaret Eaton, Chairman of Near Neighbours and Canon Paul Hackwood, Trustee of Near Neighbours and Executive Chair of Church Urban Fund. It will also be attended by a variety of local community groups and projects supported by Near Neighbours. On the day we will hear from each of our guests and the Larches Trust.

The Bishop of Southwark has praised the work of the Near Neighbours programme; “Over the past four years, through a remarkable array of grassroots community initiatives, this programme has borne much fruit in bringing people together across different faiths to bless their neighbours, build trust and advance the common good.  I am proud that the Diocese of Southwark has supported the programme so purposefully.”

Rabbi Natan Levy, Interfaith and Social Action Manager at the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “The Larches Trust is a great example of the work Jewish organisations are doing to help their communities and support their neighbours. Both the Board of Deputies and the wider Jewish community is committed to positive and authentic engagement with people of all faiths and none. This project, offering a statement of peace across a very diverse group of neighbours is a brilliant example of this. Judaism speaks often of the ‘Tree of Life’ at the centre of Paradise.  This small project, a tree mosaic, is a remainder of the potential within us all to create ‘trees of life’ that transform our neighbourhoods into Edens of hope.”

Near Neighbours Chairman, Baroness Eaton said; “We are delighted to be able to support the great work being done across different faiths in local communities, such as that of The Larches Trust. It is evidence of the contribution and commitment of England’s faith groups to work for the good of their local neighbourhoods.”

Near Neighbours Trustee, Canon Paul Hackwood said; “The work of Near Neighbours and The Larches Trust is a sign of faith communities’ commitment to living well together and to the common good. The Near Neighbours programme is enabling such action in local communities across England and is making a real difference.”


Near Neighbours

Near Neighbours works to bring people together in diverse local communities to develop positive relationships and to encourage people to come together on initiatives that improve their local neighbourhood. It is a partnership between Church Urban Fund and the Archbishops Council. It is funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government and has been running since 2011.

Near Neighbours is supporting and equipping local people through a broad range of partners. Local hubs host coordinators who are providing a network for community groups and expertise for projects. This is supplemented by national partners who offer tailored work with young people, women and emerging community leaders. We also work with inter-faith forums who gather faith communities together in dialogue and action.

This is supported by a small grants fund, providing seed capital for local groups and organisations who are working to bring together neighbours; to develop relationships of diverse faiths and ethnicities and also to improve their communities. Near Neighbours has now awarded £2.7million to these 800 projects.


The Project

This grant has been given to the Larches Trust, a Jewish led organisation very active in the community. Their work focuses on supporting people with learning disabilities and autism.

Our grant is helping them run a community peace project in Barnet, whereby local people will come together to build a mosaic in the form of a tree; as a declaration of peace in the area. People of different faiths will have the opportunity to express beliefs important to their faith, through individualised contributions to the mosaic. This is connecting Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Muslim residents as well as those of no faith and is working closely with their neighbouring church.



Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Near Neighbours: 0207 898 1508 / near.neighbours@cuf.org.uk

  1. Further information about Near Neighbours, including the Near Neighbours Fund, is available at www.near-neighbours.org.uk.
  2. Near Neighbours works out of ‘hubs’ in Bradford (including Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Burnley, Leeds, Bradford and Dewsbury), Birmingham, the Black Country (including Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Walsall and Dudley); Leicester (including Leicester and Nottingham), Luton and across most of London (divided into west and east London Hubs).
  3. In addition our national partners are the The Feast, Catalyst and the Nehemiah Foundation. Our Faith Forums are the Three Faiths Forum, the Christian Muslim Forum, the Council of Christians and Jews and the Hindu Christian Forum
  4. The Near Neighbours Fund awards small grants of up to £5,000 to projects that enable people of different faiths (or none) to work together to the benefit of the community.

Author: Andrew Mathews

Date: 20 February 2015