Department of Social Development encourages churches’ work with local communitiesThursday 8 March 2012
Churches and faith–based groups play a vital role in developing their local communities. That was the message from senior Department for Social Development (DSD) official Jenny Pyper when she spoke at the Urban Futures seminar organised by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Mrs Pyper had been invited to address the seminar to lay down some challenges for local church congregations and community organisations.
Jenny said: “The NI Executive’s main programme for tackling multiple disadvantage is currently the Neighbourhood Renewal scheme run by DSD. Soon, the Executive will add to that with up to £80 million from the Social Investment Fund. It is important that we harness the efforts of all parts of our society that are able to meet the deep–rooted social need around us.”
Mrs Pyper said the churches played a huge but sometimes unrecognised role and she paid tribute to the work that faith communities have been doing in urban areas. She encouraged church members and people of faith to work even more collaboratively with statutory, public and voluntary bodies such as Neighbourhood Partnerships.
“There is so much to be gained by working together in these areas. Churches have demonstrated how best to reach out to the poorest and most marginalised over the centuries; I would encourage the continuation of this valuable tradition.”
Read more about Community projects and Caring Associations in the Diocese of Down and Dromore here.