Posted by: bbburnley | April 30, 2012

BBB 10th Anniversary Plans


2012 is a special year for Building Bridges in Burnley. It signifies ten year of delivering Interfaith and Community Cohesion work.

In 2001 the town was wracked with violent clashes between young White and Asian men and the police. It left many properties and vehicles damaged and communities in disarray. Whilst the civic authorities moved to begin the process of trying to understand the causes of the Disturbances, the faith leaders met at the home of  Bishop John Goddard of Burnley to discuss what needed to be done to avoid such events from taking place again. The result was a 12 month project. A year later on 22nd June 2002, another meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Church on Colne Rd, officiating the project into an organisation, thereby inaugurating Building Bridges in Burnley.

The Ibrahim Mosque, on the corner of Elm St and Clegg St, was offered as a location for the organisation’s office and soon after Abdul Hamid Qureshi became the first paid employee of Building Bridges in Burnley. At around the same time, a second organisation was setup called the Bridge Project, which had similar aims to Building Bridges in Burnley, but was focused on working with schools, funded by The Children’s Fund. The project took up offices in St Andrew’s church hall.

The two organisations co-existed for a number of years, delivering various community activities, feast programs, interfaith dialogues, youth work, residential programs and school work. In 2007, the board member of the two organisations decided it was in the best interest of the town and the organisations for the two to merge. In 2009, Nasrullah Anwar, formerly the Director of Lancashire Council of Mosques, was recruited as the Principal Officer to complete the merger and take the organisation forward. Since then, we have expanded our presence on the web and through social media.

Building Bridges in Burnley has earned praise far and wide for it spirit of dedication and creativity, described as being at the cutting edge of interfaith and leaders in community cohesion development. We have been visited by many national and foreign dignitaries, including HRH Prince Charles and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who suggested that the work being done in Burnley should be bottled and exported to other parts of the country.

But the theme of our celebrations isn’t to look backwards at pass glories. Instead we are focusing our efforts to put on a week of activities to emphasize the breadth of our work and partnerships and the theme of our main event is looking to the future of interfaith work and praying for another ten years of innovation and leadership. You can learn more about our plans for the celebration on the dedicated page featuring the itinerary for the week here.

Update: We have now received funding towards our celebration from the Friends of Queens Park and Near Neighbours. We are also grateful to Burnley Borough Council for their support.

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