Serious violence has a huge impact on faith communities. Too often faith leaders have to stand beside grieving families to help them come to terms with the brutal fallout of violence. They see how the adverse experiences people have in childhood shape the parents and people they later become. Their shared concerns have brought people of faith, and those of no faith, to a place where they are keen to work together to prevent violence.
This is a new Alliance. It is far from a standard partnership. Founding members have invested real effort to understand different perspectives. They are looking for opportunities to work together and they want to share their time and resources to achieve real results.
Faith communities are made up of people from all sorts of different backgrounds, with diverse professional skills and experience. They also include people of all ages, offering the opportunity to engage different generations to solve problems that can lead to violence. They are already equipped to build trust and to have difficult conversations. They are also able to be a beacon of hope for people and communities who are experiencing challenging times.
The Faith Alliance is well placed to connect the VRU to people, organisations and projects in our communities. By working together, we aim to give a voice to those who might not feel they are being listened to and to give power to those that may feel they have none. It has never been more important to do that than now.
The VRU aims to offer the Faith Alliance a route to influence the way in which organisations are reflecting and responding to the growing recognition that changes need to be made in order to ensure that all young people feel that the West Midlands is a fair and safe place to live.
In partnership the Faith Alliance and the VRU aim to:
- Increase the capacity and opportunity for the community to lead, inform and facilitate violence reduction interventions.
- Reduce the disproportionate impact of serious violence on certain groups.
- Bring businesses and informal community networks into violence prevention partnerships
- Help faith organisations to take practical steps to anchor violence reduction activity right in the heart of their local community.
- Help build community consensus and meaningful engagement between communities and organisations
- Increase the cultural competencies of professionals and organisations involved in violence reduction activity
- Keep people safe and provide pathways out of harmful situations.
- Support communities to look after each other
There is always space for more people at this table. To get involved with the Faith Alliance, please contact vru@west-midlands,pnn.police.uk