Inter Faith Network for the UK imminent closure

On 7 February, the Board of the Inter Faith Network for the UK took, with great regret, an in principle decision to move towards closure of the organisation.

That will be confirmed, on 22 February and greater detail provided subsequently – unless by that time the funding offered by the Government on 7 July 2023 for work from July 2023 to March 2024, subject to conditions, is made available or funds at an equivalent level are received from other quarters.

The background to this decision can be seen in a statement issued by IFN’s Board on 24 January, following a letter of 19 January from Secretary of State Rt Hon Michael Gove MP saying that he was ‘minded to withdraw’ the funding offered in July 2023.  The Board’s statement can be seen here, and key points made by its Co-Chairs in response to Mr Gove’s concerns about IFN having a Trustee who is a member of the Muslim Council of Britain can be seen here.

Continued uncertainty regarding Government funding to the Inter Faith Network has had a hugely damaging effect on the charity. Continuing to operate without the £155,000 offered over six months ago has not proven possible, despite other fundraising efforts and IFN’s widely acknowledged importance as a trusted and effective UK-wide body working to deepen understanding about and between different faiths and inter faith cooperation and to share information and good practice.

The Board is grateful to all the many individuals and organisations who have written to MPs and Ministers, started or signed petitions, made donations, and in other ways shown deep and often humbling support to IFN across the last year. It is also grateful to those parliamentarians who, on a cross-party basis, have offered support across this period – as well as across the period April to June 2023 where no funding was given following a 31 March letter from DLUHC saying that there would be no funding from 1 April.

In preparing for IFN’s likely closure, the Board will be looking across the coming weeks, with input from members and others, at whether and how particular strands of IFN’s work, including Inter Faith Week, may be taken forward for the future, as part of ensuring that positive inter faith relations in the UK can continue to be promoted effectively, particularly in the challenging environment we collectively face.

8 February 2024

Editor's Notes

  1. Press queries to Inter Faith Network: tel 020 7730 0410; email ifnet@interfaith.org.uk  
  2. The Inter Faith Network for the UK www.interfaith.org.uk is the UK’s inter faith linking body. It has worked since 1987 to “advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain including an awareness both of their distinctive features and their common ground and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country”.
  3. IFN’s vision is of “a society where there is understanding of the diversity and richness of the faith communities in the UK and the contribution that they make; and where we live and work together with mutual respect and shared commitment to the common good”.  As part of that, it has always had a strong focus on shared values as a basis for working together for the benefit of wider society.
  4. IFN works with its member bodies and many others to promote good inter faith relations and cooperation at every level, to highlight the importance of this work, and to ensure that the importance of religious identity and of good inter faith relations is understood in wider society. Through its major Inter Faith Week programme, which in November 2023 saw over 1,020 inter faith activities take place, it also promotes dialogue between those of religious and non-religious beliefs.
  5. IFN’s member bodies include: national faith community representative bodies from the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Druid, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Latter-day Saint, Muslim, Pagan, Sikh, Spiritualist, and Zoroastrian faith communities of the UK; national and regional inter faith organisations; local inter faith organisations; and educational and academic bodies with an interest in multi faith and inter faith issues. A list of these can be seen at www.interfaith.org.uk/members/list and details of its multi faith Board of Trustees can be found at www.interfaith.org.uk/about/people.
  6. IFN is funded from a number of sources such as trusts, faith communities, individual donors and – until March 2023 – Government. Government funding has been made available towards its work since 2001 and has been a vital part of what enabled that work, including national Inter Faith Week, to take place.

 

The Inter Faith Network for the UK
Mary Sumner House, 24 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3RB
Tel: +44 (0)20 7730 0410
Email: ifnet@interfaith.org.uk  Web: www.interfaith.org.uk
www.facebook.com/IFNetUK   www.twitter.com/IFNetUK
Registered charity no. 1068934
Company limited by guarantee no. 3443823 Registered in England

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