Expansion of Near Neighbours programme 'gives huge opportunities' says Archbishop Justin
Thursday 27th February 2014During a visit to a community centre in South London this morning, the Archbishop of Canterbury praised the Near Neighbours programme and its grassroots approach to creating community ties across cultural and religious boundaries
Near Neighbours, a partnership between the Church Urban Fund and the Archbishop's Council that provides small grants to multi-faith community projects, has been awarded an extra £3m by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The extra money will enable projects to expand into other parts of the country, including Luton, Leeds and the Black country.
Addressing faith and civic leaders and members of the local community at Rockingham Community Centre, Archbishop Justin said the Church was “profoundly grateful” for the enthusiasm DCLG had shown for Near Neighbours. The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, and the Communities Minister, Stephen Williams, also spoke at the event.
“I think the great thing about Near Neighbours is it under promises and overachieves – and that’s actually much the best way of doing it,” he said. “It’s very much grassroots, and this new expansion gives huge opportunities. We need to recognise how important that is.”
He continued: “We know that one of the biggest characteristics of Jesus was not being frightened about who he talked to. He didn’t only stick in his own little holy huddle, but he reached out.
“He told us to love our neighbour; one of his great parables that many people know is the story of the Good Samaritan, which is of the conflict of cultures and of history being overcome by the personal contact and working together. And when we meet each other, we deal with fear – we may not agree, but we deal with fear.”
Watch Archbishop Justin talking about Near Neighbours and multi-faith community projects at Rockingham Community Centre, South London, 27 February 2014: