In addition to other aspects of the work that LCoF undertakes, it also engages from time to time in different projects which concentrate on specific themes. Here is an example of some of this work:
LCoF has worked closely in partnership with GRASSROOTS for a number of years, supporting it’s ‘Making Luton a Fairtrade Town’ project and being a proactive member of its steering group. This work helped Luton to become a Fairtrade Town in 2011, and other achievements over this time have included Luton having the first Fairtrade Hindu Temple in the UK, the second and third Fairtrade Mosques in the UK, over thirty-five Fairtrade Churches, two Fairtrade Synagogues and a Fairtrade Sikh Temple. This work has won a national Outstanding Achievement Award, been the subject of academic research interest, and been presented to other regional and national campaigners. In recent years, LCoF has also supported the supply of Fairtrade gift hampers for different faith festivals including Christmas, Diwali and Eid.
Environment and Ecology
Environment and Ecology issues are a running theme through much of LCoFs work. Where possible, recyclable and biodegradable materials are used at meetings and events (plates, cups and cutlery), and all efforts are made to recycle office materials too. Past projects of significance have included the Faith Woodlands Communities project, where LCoF led a collaborative effort to develop a sacred space, labyrinth and guided walks in Maulden Woods, Bedfordshire. This project included developing a guide to walking through Dallow Downs and Runley Wood in Luton, with a list of wildlife (animals and plant life) to spot. Following the legacy of this, a more recent project was set up to help regenerate Cohen’s Yard, a small unsightly park in Luton, by repainting the playground equipment, litter picking and creating a planting area. Also of significance is the development of Eco-Iftar, an annual event where Iftar (the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan) is shared together by members of the local community, where they are also made aware of environmental issues including locally produced honey and Fairtrade.
Health and Sports
Whilst some may not easily see a relationship between sport and faith, LCoF has utilised sport as a way of bringing people of all faiths and none together for a number of years. Archery is a prime example of this. Through it’s ‘On Target with Faith Communities for a Healthy Luton’ project, LCoF has successfully trained a number of volunteer instructors including Health Champions and Level 1 Archery Coaches, from a wide range of backgrounds. These volunteers help to run weekly archery sessions and community competitions that have brought men and women from all ages, faiths and cultural backgrounds together. One of the key highlights of this is that whole families have taken part together, ranging from children to grandparents, and LCoF has also helped to create four community clubs which provide continuity of provision once the project ends. LCoF has also partnered with Bedford Council of Faiths in the past to hold an annual Cricket Tournament featuring members of different faith communities, and is proud to also be a supporter of the annual Mandip Mudhar Memorial Football Tournament, which brings together members of the community and raises money for local charities.
Working with young people is an area of activity that has grown in recent years, and is of growing importance to help meet the challenges that society faces today. One of the most exciting projects LCoF has been involved in is the Catalyst Youth Leadership Programme, which has been delivered in Luton with young people from a variety of faiths. Much of the leadership training is provided by faith leaders from Luton, in addition to colleagues from the Police, Army, Khayaal Theatre and more. LCoF also works closely with schools in a number of ways, including facilitating school assembly faith panel discussions, running Character, Virtues and Values workshops, supporting archery provision in schools and involving school children in different aspects of the annual Luton Peace Walk.