8 February 2024
On 7 February, the Board of the Inter Faith Network for the UK took, with great regret, an in principle decision to move towards closure of the organisation.
That will be confirmed, on 22 February and greater detail provided subsequently – unless by that time the funding offered by the Government on 7 July 2023 for work from July 2023 to March 2024, subject to conditions, is made available or funds at an equivalent level are received from other quarters.
The background to this decision can be seen in a statement issued by IFN’s Board on 24 January, following a letter of 19 January from Secretary of State Rt Hon Michael Gove MP saying that he was ‘minded to withdraw’ the funding offered in July 2023. The Board’s statement can be seen here, and key points made by its Co-Chairs in response to Mr Gove’s concerns about IFN having a Trustee who is a member of the Muslim Council of Britain can be seen here.
Continued uncertainty regarding Government funding to the Inter Faith Network has had a hugely damaging effect on the charity. Continuing to operate without the £155,000 offered over six months ago has not proven possible, despite other fundraising efforts and IFN’s widely acknowledged importance as a trusted and effective UK-wide body working to deepen understanding about and between different faiths and inter faith cooperation and to share information and good practice.
The Board is grateful to all the many individuals and organisations who have written to MPs and Ministers, started or signed petitions, made donations, and in other ways shown deep and often humbling support to IFN across the last year. It is also grateful to those parliamentarians who, on a cross-party basis, have offered support across this period – as well as across the period April to June 2023 where no funding was given following a 31 March letter from DLUHC saying that there would be no funding from 1 April.
In preparing for IFN’s likely closure, the Board will be looking across the coming weeks, with input from members and others, at whether and how particular strands of IFN’s work, including Inter Faith Week, may be taken forward for the future, as part of ensuring that positive inter faith relations in the UK can continue to be promoted effectively, particularly in the challenging environment we collectively face.
Post expires on April 11th, 2024