At this time of severely constrained finance for local government and the NHS it is essential that we do all we can to harness the skills and assets in our local communities to improve health and wellbeing. Faith groups make an important contribution to this work through their commitment to service, both with their own members and with wider communities. In particular, faith groups are often able to utilise the enthusiasm of their members as volunteers. Also, some faith groups have members who face health inequalities through a higher risk of some diseases or through difficulties in accessing healthcare. These groups are, therefore, well placed to have an active role in tackling health problems in the communities they serve.
I am very pleased to see the excellent work showcased in the case studies in this report which demonstrate how local authorities and faith groups can work together to improve health outcomes. Some of these are using the national Faith Covenant as a framework for establishing closer partnership arrangements and to address the barriers that can exist between public services and faith groups.
The examples that are included are only a few of the positive projects and programmes that are taking place, often unrecognised, in local authorities and the NHS across the country. This is an important area for the development of productive partnerships which is yet to be fully realised. I hope that this document will encourage local authorities and their faith-based partners to come together in a mutual vision for better health and wellbeing in their communities.