Faith in Our Community
Anna Marron, a fieldwork development officer with the department for community and youth work studies at the University of Durham, believes all communities have the potential to thrive if they are given the right tools.
“I don’t regard communities as being bad, ever. I believe communities are intrinsically good, that’s what makes them communities,” she says.
“A lot of people judge communities and regard them as being at a disadvantage or with a deficit or that there’s something lacking. But actually once you live in that community you’ll see that it’s otherwise.”
Faith in Our Community (FIC) is a grassroots initiative which is trying to help people in the Durham Diocesan area fulfill their potential by involving them in solving local problems.
Funded by the Church Urban Fund, FIC has enabled six local church based projects to appoint community development workers in the former mining communities of Shildon, Sunderland Pallion, Hetton-le-Hole, Stockton Hardwick, Stockton Newtown and Houghton-le-Spring.
The aim of the FIC projects is to address concerns such as social exclusion and inequality which are prevalent across the North-East.
The projects involve people of all ages and include a wide range of activities, from keep-fit classes to food growing schemes and developing allotments. The schemes have supported vulnerable adults who have been unable to access mainstream services.
Each project includes a local management group tasked with supporting workers to plan, implement and evaluate their work.
FIC projects are continuing to build capacity and capability by helping members of the community develop skills and confidence as well as providing participants with the chance to share learning through a structured programme.
Those involved believe faith based organizations should work together with other community groups and voluntary sector organisations.