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Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough of 11 March 2009, Official Report, column 483W, on the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund, for what reasons the British Humanist Association was funded from the fund. (268692)

The British Humanist Association received £25,000 in order to establish and support a network of grassroots humanists to work and build relationships with statutory bodies and participate in groups that advise local authorities on matters of religion or belief, or encourage dialogue between people with different beliefs. The project aimed to enable local humanists to network with faith and ‘interfaith’ groups and participate in groups convened by local authorities, and thus contribute towards good relations and community cohesion.

The Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund was designed to increase the capacity of all religion and belief communities to engage with each other and with wider society. The guidance notes for the fund included the following definition:

“For the purpose of this fund, a faith organisation is defined as one where the majority of its members adhere to the same faith. They share a world view or ‘life stance’ that involves a set of moral and spiritual values and beliefs about the nature of life and the world. They will usually, but not always, believe in a god or gods.”

The application was made under the “relationships with local, regional or national Government” category—one of the capacity building categories of the fund. In its application, the BHA described their faith tradition as: “Humanist (though we do not think of ourselves as a ‘faith’, we meet the definition of ‘faith’ given in the guidance)”.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough of 11 March 2009, Official Report, column 483W, on the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund, what funding her Department and its agencies have allocated to the British Humanist Association other than through the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund; and for what purposes. (268693)