The Inter Faith Network for the UK office has now closed

Further background on closure timeline can be found on the homepage. A Press Release issued on 22 February about IFN's closure can be found at Read more…

The Work of IFN - detailed breakdown



IFN’s values are:

  • Service to others
  • Integrity
  • Accountability
  • Trust
  • Consultative and cooperative working
  • Valuing diversity
  • Inclusiveness
  • Listening and openness
  • Courtesy
  • Mutual respect
  • Respecting dissent and people's right to express this


These values are reflected in the ethos and manner of operation of IFN across the last 37 years.  It seeks to work by consensus and within clearly agreed policies and parameters rooted in its charitable purposes. It has always avoided speaking ‘on behalf’ of faith communities or claiming to ‘represent’ them.  Rather, it has been a place for coming together, discussion and development and strengthening of inter faith understanding and cooperation for the public benefit.

This is underpinned by governance structures which have been worked through across the years with careful consultation with members, as well as attention to relevant legislation and charity good practice guidance.  Ensuring a religiously diverse pattern of appropriate nomination to Trustee and Moderator roles is one example of that.  There has also been attention to general operating requirements for incorporated charities.

The values and operating ethos of IFN are likewise reflected in its careful preparation for meetings and recording of those, and equally careful development of publications: documents are seen in draft by contributors and people are not quoted without permission.  The Chatham House rule is used where appropriate.  These may seem minor points but they are part of what has helped IFN build a relationship of trust with members and other users of its services across the years.

A hub of interconnected knowledge and assistance

IFN’s expertise and network of connections has been extensively leveraged by others to add value to their own work, including projects as diverse as the Royal British Legion’s national Remembrance activity and the Big Lunch. It has also been a key resource for Government and public bodies, and IFN has contributed across the years to  developments including the reconsideration of the UK’s ‘blasphemy law’ in the late 1980s; the broadening of Government engagement with faith communities beginning in the 1990s; creation of the official multi faith marking of the Millennium as well as other milestones such as Jubilees; the inclusion of religion and belief on the Census; development of the Equality Act 2010; organ donation regulations; and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This note goes on to describe the different strands of IFN’s work. However, part of what adds strength to that is that the strands interconnect and mutually reinforce each other. That is strengthened by the fact that IFN’s work  is carried out for the Board by a staff team which has built up knowledge about all the different areas of the organisation’s work.  As of March 2024, IFN has 4.2 full-time equivalent people (2 full-time and 2 part-time staff members and a part-time temporary agency bookkeeper) working for it. Three of the staff have been with the organisation for over a decade. Between them, they have well over 50 years of experience and accumulated knowledge about inter faith relations in Britain. This includes awareness of most of the organisations operating in the inter faith space as well as of many other projects and initiatives linked to faith and inter faith work, understanding of the religious make-up of the UK, and understanding of relevant organisations and projects in other fields such as equalities, human rights, policing, chaplaincy, religious education etc.

Through attendance at meetings and events, and through regular communication via phone, email and social media, IFN staff maintain relationships with key individuals across the faith and inter faith sectors, as well as the adjacent sectors noted above. They also, through Inter Faith Week, have connections to an even wider network of organisations, projects and individuals interested in inter faith activity. This web of connections helps enable staff to respond well to enquiries – including signposting to faith community bodies and others with relevant experience or expertise, as well as to help facilitate connections between those working in the field. Trustees also contribute through involvement in meetings and discussions, as well as drawing on their own experiences of inter faith engagement within the organisations from which they are drawn.

Strands of IFN’s Work

A. National faith community representative body linking 

  • IFN links in membership a wide range of National Faith Community Representative Bodies – the membership list can be seen at
  • Representatives from member bodies in this category meet together regularly as IFN's Faith Communities Forum (FCF). The FCF serves as the category's 'link meeting' and a forum for discussion of matters of common interest and concern. It has a particular focus on public policy issues.
  • It normally meets around four times a year, but met much more frequently, for shorter sessions, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FCF has 2 Co-Moderators who chair it and also 8 Vice-Moderators.
  • The FCF is empowered by IFN’s Policy on the Making of Statements to issue statements on ‘public life issues’, and the Moderators with the Co-Chairs of the Board to issue statements on urgent matters.
  • Speakers are regularly invited to make presentations to FCF members about public affairs issues of interest and concern.  Government Departments and others also request the possibility to present and consult.
  • From time to time external bodies ask for special FCF roundtables to be convened for consultation – these are considered by the FCF.
  • In between meetings the IFN office circulates information to FCF members about faith and public life issues, such as consultations.

B. Educational and academic body linking 

Religion and belief literacy helps people to understand better what those of different faiths and beliefs hold most dear and to tackle suspicion, prejudice and hatred. Inter religious literacy aims to instil the skills for positive encounter, dialogue and cooperation.  IFN works with its member bodies to develop both kinds of literacy.

  • IFN’s member bodies include a number of educational and academic bodies which, in different ways, work as part or all of their mission to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation. Some are specialist academic institutions, or a part of these, researching aspects of inter faith relations, some are educational bodies with a focus on relevant areas, such as Religious Education in schools, and some are university multi faith chaplaincies.
  • IFN helps raise the profile of their work through a number of channels such as website profiles and social media posts.
  • IFN also contributes to strengthening their work through opportunities to share news and good practice.
  • Meetings for bodies in this category are usually held twice a year, jointly with bodies in the category of National and Regional Inter Faith Organisations. Had IFN continued, it had been planned in 2024 to switch to holding one meeting jointly with the NRIFOs and one meeting without, following feedback.

C. Local inter faith linking 

  • IFN links in direct membership many local inter faith organisations (LIFOs). By agreement with Interfaith Scotland, Scottish Interfaith groups are linked just by Interfaith Scotland.
  • IFN supports local inter faith organisations through: providing resources such as publications and special focus sections on its website; helping local inter faith enquirers with contacts and advice to strengthen their initiatives; visiting and speaking with groups; and using social media to encourage more people to join their local inter faith organisation.
  • IFN holds regional link meetings for LIFOs (both member and non-member to enable sharing of news and good practice. This, in turn, feeds into IFN's work and helps to shape its patterns of engagement at all levels. Where regional inter faith bodies exist, these are consulted and invited to participate.
  • IFN also holds periodic day events for local inter faith practitioners from across the UK to enable sharing and learning from a wider range of contexts.
  • IFN advocates for the work of local inter faith organisations, for instance through mailings to chief executives of local authorities, underlining the importance of their work and encouraging engagement with them and support for them.

D. National and regional inter faith linking 

  • Among IFN’s member bodies are 28 inter faith organisations the work of which is carried out at UK or national level or which, while regionally focused within a particular nation, are used by people across the UK.
  • IFN helps these organisations to increase the impact of their activity through raising the profile of their work; enabling them to share information and ideas through its meetings; and through publications, newsletters and social media.
  • Meetings for bodies in this category are usually held twice a year, jointly with bodies in the category of Educational and Academic Bodies given the importance of religious literacy work to both categories of membership. As noted above, it had been planned from 2024 to switch to holding one joint meeting and one just for this constituency, following feedback. Such meetings enable participants to share experiences and explore avenues of cooperation. They also help enable unnecessary duplication of work.

E. Linking/engaging with national inter faith linking bodies of the devolved nations 

  • At the UK level, IFN links in membership the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum, Interfaith Scotland and the Inter-faith Council for Wales/ Cyngor Rhyng-Ffydd Cymru. These bodies play an important role in linking and in terms of advocacy work with their devolved Governments.
  • For historical reasons, these bodies are linked in the same category as other national inter faith bodies, but also meet together separately through an annual meeting between representatives of IFN and the linking bodies of the devolved nations convened by IFN.

F. Inter Faith Week 

  • A key route through which IFN helps new people become involved in inter faith activity is Inter Faith Week. This has run in England and Wales since 2009. Northern Ireland joined in the Week in 2010. A separate, very successful, Inter Faith Week has run in Scotland since 2004 and was the inspiration for the Week in the other nations.
  • The aims of Inter Faith Week are: strengthening good inter faith relations at all levels; increasing awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society; and increasing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs.
  • Hundreds of organisations take part in IFW, most of which  are not IFN member bodies or faith or interfaith bodies at all, such as schools, businesses, local authorities, libraries and hospitals.
  • Although the Week takes place in November each year, it is a year-round programme that includes preparation, supporting of the Week (including event registration on the website), reporting, and encouraging and giving initial support to a range of new developments that come out of it each year.
  • IFW has its own website, brand identity, social media accounts and mailing lists.
  • Inter Faith Week is a successful, growing programme with high levels of brand recognition, meaning that fundraising for it is more straightforward than for some of IFN’s other programmes.
  • It is also, however, the most time consuming to administer. Inter Faith Week usually occupied about 25% of IFN’s overall staff time in a given year, in addition to at least one 3 month, full time internship focussed specifically on the Week. This equates to between 220-290 person-days per year, the equivalent of 1-1.3 full time members of staff. In some years this has been higher, particularly where IFN has held a national event of some kind itself. In some years IFN was fortunate to have volunteer assistance toward some of this work. Inter Faith Week costs usually made up between £95,000 and £110,000 of IFN’s annual budget, including staff costs and a linked overhead allocation on a total cost recovery basis.

G. Communication, advice and information

The Inter Faith Network for the UK is a key source of advice and information on inter faith issues in the UK. Underlying that is ongoing research to keep the information up to date.  It uses publications and social media in ways designed to advance encourage positive narratives about inter faith relations in the UK and act as a counterpoint to divisive or hateful posts.

  • IFN produces a regular Newsletter, which carries information about inter faith projects, relevant national updates, research projects, funding opportunities, and upcoming inter faith events.
  • IFN’s website acts as a repository of information and advice, including links to IFN member bodies and non-member local inter faith groups and details of upcoming inter faith events.
  • IFN uses Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X to highlight and share examples of positive inter faith activity in the UK, as well as developments in public life relevant to inter faith practitioners. It also shares, with the permission of the Shap Calendar Group, posts about some 180 religious festivals per year on Twitter and Facebook.
  • IFN provides information and advice to individual members of the public and also to institutions such as emergency services, voluntary organisations, schools, hospitals, workplaces, Government Departments, local authorities, the media and others.
  • In some cases, IFN staff are involved with projects on a longer-term basis, where this is seen as fitting with IFN’s aims and helping to carry these out. For example, engaging with Equally Ours; the National Police Chiefs’ Council; National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO); and the Office for National Statistics.
  • IFN sends Circulars throughout the year to member bodies about matters connected to its work and developments relevant to inter faith engagement, including in the area of public policy. This is part of supporting member bodies in their work for greater understanding about and between faith communities.


Creating resources

IFN has produced a number of resources to assist those working to build good relations, including studies and research to support emerging dialogues and patterns of engagement. These help users to strengthen existing projects and develop new projects and dialogues. Some recent examples include:

  • IFN’s guidelines for dialogue, Building good relations with people of different faiths and beliefs has been widely used in many contexts in the UK and overseas, and was endorsed by all IFN member bodies.
  • Looking after one another: the safety and security of our faith communities, latest edition 2023. A guidance document published by the Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN) in partnership with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; the Home Office; the Crown Prosecution Service; the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the National Fire Chiefs’ Council. Containing guidance on responding jointly to attacks on places of worship; working for calm at times of tension; and working to build on and strengthen existing good inter faith relations. It contains material about how and where to report hate incidents, cyber-attacks, and actual or suspected terrorist activity; where to find information on strengthening the security of buildings; and where to find information about working to build – and strengthen – good inter faith relations locally.
  • Deep connections: Women’s Local Inter Faith Initiatives in the UK 2023 – An  illustrated report, based on research by IFN, looking at a wide range of local inter faith initiatives which are led by women and principally for women. Drawing on information supplied by these grassroots groups it highlights examples of their activity and explores benefits and challenges. It also includes a compendium of summary information about each group that was surveyed.
  • Inter faith activity in the UK: a teacher resource for secondary pupils aged 11-14, 2021. A resource produced with input from member bodies and RE specialists designed to help increase pupils’ understanding of, and skills for, inter faith encounter, dialogue and action. It focuses on learning about real examples of inter faith engagement, including in their areas.
  • Connect: A Youth Inter Faith Action Guide, 2018. An action guide for young people, including information on the different kinds of inter faith activity, ways to get involved, planning tips and practicalities, and links to further information. Developed with the help of an advisory group, which included young people, IFN Trustees, and people drawn from organisations running inter faith programmes with young people and also focus groups.
  • Using the power of sport to build good inter faith relations, 2017. A report and good practice compendium based on work with Sporting Equals UK.

Further examples of resources can be seen at: Publications - Resources - The Inter Faith Network (IFN)