Faith and social action

St Phil Event
Sikh voluntary workers in Leicester (photo courtesy of the St Philip’s Centre)

On 27th November 2012 the Department for Communities and Local Government held a day to celebrate faith-based social action. Speaking at the occasion, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Minister for Faith and Communities, said, ‘[W]e know that people who “do God” do good things up and down the country every single day. Surveys show people of religious observance are more likely to become volunteers, and we see that fact in the 30,000 faith-based charities making a difference throughout Britain’.[1]

Warsi’s comments have been repeated many times by politicians over the last three decades. With the UK having moved toward a ‘mixed economy’ of welfare since 1979, government has been keen to involve faith groups in the delivery of services and to encourage inter-faith work.  Yet this approach has numerous critics, from those who feel that the government’s stance ‘instrumentalises’ religious groups to those who believe faith communities should have a more marginal role in public life.

In September 2013, Public Spirit will host a series of articles from people working in government and the voluntary and community sectors which will give an insight into faith-based social action in Britain. It will include contributions from David Barclay (Contextual Theology Centre), Riaz Ravat (St Philip’s Centre, Leicester), Husna Ahmed (Green Pearl), Sukhwant Dhaliwal (Goldsmiths, University of London), Stephen Miller (FbRN) and Warwick Hawkins (Department for Communities and Local Government).

[1] Sayeeda Warsi, ‘Inter Faith Week and A Year of Service Speech’,, 27 November 2012,



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