The October network meeting took the form of a facilitated workshop continuing the theme of peace and reconciliation on from the July network and the September Multi-faith Walk of Peace as it is acknowledged that recent tragic terrorist incidents can have the effect of increasing fear between communities. The July network meeting focused on what the different faith communities in the borough are already doing to lessen fear and build trust. The Multi-faith Walk of Peace was a practical way of building trust and the purpose of the October network was to focus on what we as individuals can do in our own local neighbourhoods to increase trust by building bridges across our differences.
We heard three different encouraging accounts from three Redbridge residents who had reached out to their neighbours and successfully built bridges and brought communities together – one example was setting up a women’s walking group of neighbours who would go for a walk together in the evening after work, another was a food festival where neighbours donated fruit from their garden to be juiced, and the third was how an initial tentative suggestion of neighbours meeting together to share refreshments outside their homes has developed into an annual street party.
Round table discussions then took place where people shared their ideas for small specific actions that would really make a difference to community cohesion in their streets. Followed by the opportunity to report back one idea from each group. All ideas were displayed on flipcharts and proved interesting reading.
The evaluation forms were all very positive with 100% of those attending agreeing that they had the opportunity to share their ideas for building bridges in the community and many people commenting that hearing and sharing ideas with others had been most interesting and informative part of the workshop.
Redbridge Faith Forum would like to thank Ruth Musgrave for leading and facilitating the workshop and Dr Suhasini, Ros Southern and Ghazala Navaid for sharing their stories of bridge building.