Key members of West Midlands faith and community groups are coming together to help improve the lives of all residents.
Organised by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) the new Faith Strategic Partnership Group is bringing together 19 representatives from five religions.
They were chosen from 84 applicants who applied to join the group back in October.
Chair of the Faith Strategic Partnership Group Amrick Singh Ubhi
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The work of local faith groups is highly valued, especially the strong contribution they have made during the pandemic. They have helped spread the word to their communities about everything from safety messages to support available to businesses.
“A very strong field of applicants was received for a small number of places so I am sure this new group will make a significant contribution to the recovery of the West Midlands.”
Members of the group will identify priority areas and strategies to tackle these from a faith perspective. These areas are expected to include homelessness, education, employment, poverty, community relations and leadership. The group’s members will be expected to network within and beyond their communities and collaborate with other faith groups.
The group’s priority will be to support the WMCA’s Covid-19 response, especially around the issue of health inequalities highlighted by the recent Regional Health Impact of Covid report.
The group’s first meeting was held on Tuesday 15 December and the was attended by the Mayor Andy Street and Cllr Brigid Jones, WMCA portfolio lead for inclusive communities and deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, who welcomed the group.
Cllr Jones said: “The new Faith Strategic Partnership Group represents a balance of religious affinities, gender, age and geography to create the right mix of members which is truly representative of the faiths in our region.
“I look forward to hearing from them on some of the key issues facing our communities in the West Midlands.”
Just over three years ago a faith steering group was created to work with the Mayor’s office and the WMCA. Over the past nine months the group has supported WMCA’s faith briefings which bring together faith groups by holding weekly online meetings chaired by the Mayor. The virtual round tables provide faith leaders and representatives with updates on Covid-19 from local authorities and public health experts, and on funding and support available and the opportunity to hold to account each week’s panel about issues that directly affect their communities.
The new group will start off with 26 members, seven of which are from a previous steering group who will develop and support the new group and stand-down in 12 months. Chair of the Faith Strategic Partnership Group and chair of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras, Birmingham and centre director at the Nishkam Centre, Amrick Singh Ubhi said: “The new members were chosen on the basis that they have the strategic capacity and foresight to ensure faith makes a strong contribution to the work of the region.
“We were particularly keen to include younger faith representatives so we can contribute to the development of the faith leaders and advocates of the future. We are passionate about calling upon all the amazing individuals who expressed an interest to join and involve them in future discussion. We are also indebted to the outgoing Faith Steering Group who have to pave the way for this next phase.”
Following the outbreak of the pandemic vital voluntary services were set up by the wide range of faiths in the West Midlands to help anyone affected by the current crisis, regardless of belief. Their good work has been supported by West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and highlighted on the WMCA website.
The successful applicants are:
1. Amrit Kaur Juss
2. Bhuvnesh Shah
3. Cheryl Hawkins
4. Ghulam Vohra
5. Hannah Stanton
6. Hikmah Muhammad
7. Jaspreet Singh
8. Jatinder Singh
9. Jessica Day Pollard
10. Julian Sampson
11. Kuljeet Takhar
12. Mahmooda Qureshi
13. Matt Lambert
14. Maxine Douglas
15. Nasir Akhtar
16. Nisha Patel
17. Ruth Jacobs
18. Sheikh Mohammed Nuru
19. Tarang Shelat