Profiles: Andrew Mathews

Profiles: Andrew Mathews

Who are you/what do you do for Near Neighbours?

I'm Andy and I live and work in London. My role for Near Neighbours is Grants Coordinator. As the title suggests, a major part of my role is to oversee the operation of the programme's Small Grants Fund. In reality my role is actually broader than this, supporting much of the day to day work of the programme's central operations in our head office. This includes supervising two other members of our team, Catherine our Grants Officer and Tim our Communications Officer. 


Why do you love working for Near Neighbours?

For me, the best thing about Near Neighbours (and my role within it) is being able to support hundreds of local initiatives across England through our grants, enabling them to get started and develop sustainable and meaningful cross-faith relationships. I see a real need to gather diverse local people together to build strong community ties and act together for the common good. Our grants are a really practical way of doing this and are having a huge impact!


What is your favourite memory from working at Near Neighbours?

Not so much one memory, but a series of memories. I'm lucky enough to work closely with all of our locally based coordinators. We regularly gather to meet, share and develop the work of the programme. we're an increasingly diverse team and these meetings are themselves a snapshot of what the programme is aiming to achieve. Our working relationships have become something more than simply being colleagues and I've personally been very blessed to get to know a group of people so different to myself. I'm also very encouraged to know that each area we are working in has someone locally based who is so genuinely committed to the good of these neighbourhoods.


What are your hopes for Near Neighbours?

My hope is that Near Neighbours leaves a long legacy of meaningful and positive impact in each area we work. That neighbours will increasingly discover what it means to live well together, despite differences that can emerge of faith, ethnicity or culture and that these places will thrive as they act together for the common good.


Do you think Near Neighbours is making an impact. If so, in what way?

I think the programme has made a substantial difference in the areas we are working. I have heard first hand from local people the impact of our work and this has only been reinforced by the experiences of our team and feedback we have received from projects and independent researchers. People are being brought together, have developed meaningful relationships of trust and have been supported to act to transform their local communities.

Author: Mr Tim Burton-Jones

Date: 14 August 2015