The Common Good Fund (CGF) was a response to increased tensions between and within communities across England which were particularly evident following the EU referendum. Building on the Church Urban Fund’s (CUF) experience in administering the Near Neighbours programme, the CGF provided small grants (£250 - £5000) to local groups and organisations who are working to build connections across communities in order to encourage people to live together well. The programme had four key objectives:
- Creating a common agenda
- Promoting a sense of personal responsibility
- Increasing levels of participation and social cohesion.
- Promoting an alternative to hate, intolerance, and prejudice
The CGF was administered through Near Neighbours, a programme which brings together people in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in. This is achieved through Near Neighbours’ local presence in communities across England with hubs and co-ordinators; a small grants fund to provide support for local projects; and a network of national partners to provide training, expertise and resources.
This evaluation was commissioned by CUF to assess the extent to which the funded projects met the objectives of the programme. The evaluation was carried out by Dr. Sophie E. Bremner in May 2017, based on five case studies of Common Good Fund projects in Boston, Peterborough, Stoke-on-Trent, Ipswich and London.