Belief in Social Action: Exploring faith groups' responses to local needs

Over at least the last two decades there has been a growing policy interest in the role of faith based social action. Under New Labour administrations this initially related to their role in neighbourhood regeneration and, subsequently, in community cohesion and the prevention of violent extremism agendas.

After the 2010 election and the subsequent Coalition and Conservative administrations, there has been renewed interest in faith groups’ activity in providing local services, although now in a context of austerity and welfare reform.

This Working Paper explores, from the perspective of faith groups themselves, how they are responding to these ‘new’ agendas. Do faith based organisations have the capacity to fill the increasing gaps in welfare provision? Are they being, or feeling, ‘pushed’ into service provision but with a loss of voice and policy influence? How do faith-based organisations feel about their roles in a changing landscape?

Further, the report identifies key shifts in multi-faith working in an age of superdiversity, and the future challenges for faith based social action.

By Angus McCabe, Heather Buckingham and Steve Miller with Marcianne Musabyimana