Conference aiming to build togetherness through faith

Homelessness, hate crime, leadership and the economy will be on the agenda of a multi-faith event organised by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, in partnership with the University of Birmingham.

Around 400 people are expected to attend the Mayor and Faith Conference: Faith in the West Midlands in the Great Hall at the University of Birmingham on Monday November 27.

The Mayor, working with a faith-based steering group, has organised the conference to help him shape priorities and ways for working with different groups.

Conference aiming to build togetherness through faith

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street with members of the faith steering group.

Delegates will see presentations by Jean Templeton OBE, chair of the Mayor’s homelessness task force, Anita Bhalla OBE, who is chair of the Mayor’s Leadership Commission, David Jamieson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, and Bishop of Birmingham the Right Reverend David Urquhart.

The conference will also examine and discuss ways of working in several areas of concern to the region:

  • Unlocking the potential of young people by building new leadership networks
  • Reducing homelessness and social need
  • Keeping communities safer by tackling hate crime and discrimination
  • Finding concrete ways to work together to make the economy work better for the whole community

Mr Street said: “Faith in all its different forms is a force for good in our society.

“I want this conference to bring all faiths together as one to find ways of tackling those areas that affect and concern us all within the wider West Midlands community.”

The faith conference is one of the Mayor’s 10 pledges that he promised to immediately undertake following his election in May this year.

A 17-strong faith steering group was established shortly after Mr Street took office.

Co-chairs of the group, appointed by Mr Street, are Francis Davis, Professor of Communities and Public Policy at the University of Birmingham, and Amrick Singh Ubhi, chair of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham and director of the Nishkam Centre, a Sikh faith-led organisation working for the wellbeing of all communities based in Handsworth, Birmingham.

Prof Davis said: “This gathering is intended to be a conversation between hundreds of people of faith and the Mayor to help him shape his priorities and explore ways to unlock all the talents of the region to build a more inclusive economy.

“What's important here is the Mayor has promised us he'll follow up with a concrete action plan and that plan, in my view, has the potential to set a national and international standard for regions like ours."

Amrick Singh Ubhi said: “It’s an honour to co-chair the steering group to bring this conference to fruition.

“The group has dedicated enormous time and energy to ensure the Mayor’s vision to include faith communities becomes a reality.

“The event is not the end-game but the beginning of a journey to enable all the stakeholders in the region to play their part in the realisation and delivery of the Renewal Plan.

“Faith communities locally and regionally have vast social capital and a passion to serve, help and mobiles volunteers, this is an opportunity to participate in creating greater collaboration across all sectors.”

The event will be livestreamed on our Twitter channel @WestMids_CA from around 4pm.

You can see a video of the Mayor and members of the Faith Commission talking about the conference here.

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