From India to Bognor – the tour which healed religious divides
A group of Sikh, Christian and Muslim religious
leaders from Smethwick are to be recognised by the
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner for their efforts
in bringing together
The group, called 'Faithful Friends', formed in 2015 in an
attempt to unify people in their area and to
encourage understanding between
In 2017 group members began taking each other on
a tour of their 'special spiritual places' in an
attempt to build understanding between faiths. The locations
ranged from a field in north Cornwall to Amritsar in
India. Even Butlin's in Bognor Regis is earmarked as a future
Each religious leader shared a story with the
rest of the group at their 'special spiritual
But it wasn't just the leaders who were able to take part.
Thanks to the group's creative thinking they linked with schools
via social media, filmed each visit and
made 4-minute videos which are now being shared with
school children and even prisoners.
The project was designed to establish dialogue and
bring people together.
Commenting on being shortlisted for the PCC's award,
Rev David Gould, from Holy Trinity Church in Smethwick,
said: "The project was formed out of a desire to build trust
and friendship between cultures and religions.
"What we ended up with has included the opportunity
for a change in the attitudes of a whole generation of
"When we began the project I never could have
envisaged that it would have had such a great influence.
We really appreciate all the support we've had from charities and
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson,
said: "This project sums up everything that is good about the West
"Our region is a wonderful mix of faiths, cultures and
backgrounds and this project has helped build on the tolerant
attitudes that already exist."
Coventry Cathedral has also recently recognised the
group's efforts when it handed it the 'Together for Hope' award
which is a recognition of the quality of
the reconciliation work being carried
A documentary telling the story of Faithful
Friends On Tour and further visits are being
The Outstanding Citizens Awards take place on
For further information about the project: http://www.fncbham.org.uk/?page_id=1418