Faith-based sector ‘at the heart of communities’

NI Development Minister pays tribute to the work of parishes and faith-based organisations

Religious groups play a vital role in helping the most disadvantaged communities in the North a conference has heard.

‘Policies for People – Faith Perspectives on social need and social policy’, organised by the Northern Ireland Catholic Council on Social Affairs, heard Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland pay tribute to the work of parishes and faith-based organisations.

“It is clear to me that Churches and faith-based organisations play a significant and important role in meeting the needs of people in our most disadvantaged communities,” the minister said. He appealed to religious groups to help the Executive to devise more effective policies to reach out to vulnerable communities.

“I believe working closely with churches and faith-based groups, provides a potential opportunity to reach those who may become vulnerable and to ensure they are accessing their full entitlement to government benefits and services,” Mr McCauseland said.

The minister said he was “committed to further engagement with the Faiths’ Forum and with the faith-based sector as we endeavour to take forward our mission to tackle disadvantage and address community needs wherever they arise”.

The Department for Social Development established The Community Faiths Forum in 2010 to increase the potential of faith-based organisations to contribute to the creation of sustainable and inclusive communities.