What
we do

Our desire is to bring together teenagers from different faiths and cultures to build friendships, explore faith and change lives.

 

 

We work by building good relationships with groups of young people and then invite them to ‘encounter’ events where they can meet one another. The relationships between the young people have to be developed in distinctive ways, as their varied communities have different structures and youth programmes based on faith and culture.

All our events are totally youth focussed and a typical event involves warm up activities, discussion starters, group work, games and refreshments. We adopt good youth work practice and have the interests and needs of the young people at heart. 
Over the years we have found that small events (typically no more than 20 young people) have a much greater impact on these young people than large events, and we work hard to make sure there are equal numbers of each participating faith group.

 

 

Creating
Friendships

These personal faith conversations, based on mutual vulnerability and respect, are an excellent environment for forming new friendships. Young people are helped to overcome stereotypes and fears, and gain the confidence to live well with people from a different community or faith. They can sit together, enjoy food, a laugh and have honest and open conversations.

 

Exploring
Faith

At each ‘encounter’ event, after breaking the ice, we set up the ground rules for their time together, called our Guidelines for Dialogue. This creates a safe space where the young people are willing to share their thoughts and feelings in an honest way. As a result of this we can then facilitate open discussions based on them speaking about their own faith, and in the process they learn about the similarities and differences that exist between faiths. We believe that acknowledging both similarities and differences is vital if we are to be honest about our faith and be equipped to deal with disagreements when they occur.

The topics we discuss are ones that young people are concerned about rather than ones that faith leaders, theologians or other adults think they ought to be discussing. Through this we enable the young people to share their beliefs, experiences and ideas with one another rather than telling them what they ought to be sharing.

 

 

Changing
Lives

We encourage young people to take what they learn at The Feast out into their everyday lives. This may mean they confront their own prejudices and look to make positive change in their own lives, families and communities. It may also lead to young people leading on social action initiatives like litter picks, collecting food for, and visiting needy people, and proactive peaceful protest against injustice.  We are proud to see this diverse group of young people making such positive change in their families, schools, neighbourhoods and communities, and maybe the world.

 

In response to the growing interest in our work, The Feast also runs a number of training events each year. These events are often run in partnership with other organisations that are looking to train their workers, as well as being open to the public as well as youth workers from across the country who want training on how to encourage their youth to love their neighbour.

 

The Feast Values

We celebrate difference: we want to acknowledge our differences and delight in learning about one another and from one another, even when we disagree! We believe that unity is diversity embraced. We see diversity as a strength and are open and inclusive. We love talking about our faith, culture and background.

We are positive:  we always look and hope for the best in people, situations and stories. We love to celebrate life together with fun, in joy and through the sharing of food.

We are authentic: we are honest and open and create a safe environment for others to be the same. We talk personally about who we are and allow others to do the same. We also recognise that for many young people, celebration is not always a lived-in reality and journeying with them, gives every young person permission to celebrate and to grieve. We are not scared of difficult conversations using our guidelines for dialogue.

We are collaborative: we believe that great relationships are powerful in creating peaceful, loving and inclusive communities. We love getting to know people, encouraging them and working together to empower young people to be peacemakers and leaders. We want to learn from others as well as share our knowledge, skills and expertise. We think it’s great when other people take our experience and build on it.

We are innovative: we want to find new, interesting and creative ways to get young people together to have a good time as they talk about their beliefs and identity.

 

 

FAQ

What ages do you work with?

Our main focus is 11-16 year olds and secondary schools.

However, we have a lot of 16-18 year olds and are increasingly being invited into Colleges and Sixth Forms, so we are keen to work with this age range and involve them more as young leaders and volunteers.

Our training is targeted at adults who work with young people.

 

 
Which faith groups do you work with?

The Feast works with people of any faith and none.

We started off as a charity that worked solely with Christians and Muslims and while this is still the majority of our work, it has broadened far beyond these two groups.

 
What do you mean when you say interfaith?

We are conscious that the word “interfaith” means different things to different people, and for some it has negative connotations.  We are grateful to the pioneers in this field and are glad that today there is a wide range of interpretations and endeavours meeting this need.

For The Feast we mean bringing groups of young people from different faiths together to have a lot of fun, get to know one another and to talk about what they believe. We use our Guidelines for Dialogue to make sure we have a safe space for them to talk about their beliefs and how they live them out in their lives.

We believe it is vital that we acknowledge our similarities and differences, and that our coming together does not mean compromising what we believe but engaging with respect and honesty.

 

 
Why is it that only Christians can be Trustees and CEO?

The Feast was set up by Christians pioneering this way of helping young people of different faiths to interact well, based on an understanding of Jesus’ and the Bible’s teaching to love our neighbour.  We are proud of and honest about our grounding in the Christian faith.

The Feast sees itself as a Christian charity that engages in interfaith work with all young people. In the work we do, we ask young people to engage with peers of different faiths and ethnicities, to learn from one another and to build genuine friendships. We are very clear that young people can hold really positive and genuine friendships with one another without needing to change or compromise their faiths or cultural traditions. The young people then feel free to celebrate who they are in all their identities and also appreciate others celebrating their own identities. So when we come to the question of The Feast, we have applied the same principles of celebrating one’s identity at the organisational level - as a Christian charity we can genuinely engage in interfaith work and do so openly in that identity.  In that way, we often partner with other faith based charities of other faiths and faith groups who want to work in the interfaith space and bring young people of different faiths together - each of these partners bring different things to the table when we work together, based on our different faith foundations and are able to appreciate and complement one another. To enable the actual direct youth to occur, we ensure that we have staff and volunteers of all faiths, so that our young people feel supported and safe as they meet together and who keep The Feast accountable to its ideals and work to see our vision realised.. 

As a result the Governance structure is made up of Christians from a wide range of denominations and cultures.  It is also a requirement that the CEO is a committed Christian, however no other role in the charity has this restriction unless there is a valid Genuine Operational Requirement that the candidate have a specific faith.

 

 
Can I work for / with you?

It is great that we can provide a vocation for people in this line of work, so thanks for asking.

Please see our vacancies page and also our volunteer page for more information about how you can get involved with the work. Alternatively, please email contact@thefeast.org.uk or call 0121 213 1711 as we would love to explore how we might be able to work together.

 

 
Do you only work in Birmingham?

No, we have workers in Bradford and Keighley, Tower Hamlets and Luton, as well as international work taking place in Lebanon and elsewhere. You can read about the work they are doing on the Locations page.

 

 
Do you have any resources I can use with my group?

We do. We have some free event packs that you can use if you are getting two groups of young people together who are of different faiths or cultures. You can find them here.

Please help yourself to our Guidelines for Dialogue that can be found here.

We also have many other resources that our team has used with different groups in the past – single faith and mixed faith groups, including the Building Bridges and Transforming Dialogue Programmes. If you would like more information about these, please get in touch through contact@thefeast.org.uk or on 0121 213 1711.

Or you may like to sign up to The Feast Movement as a member - and have access to all The Feast resources and many other benefits of membership. Please go to our Members page to find out more.

 

 
Do you run any training?

Yes. In the past we have one day training courses, an annual conference and we also run an accredited youth work course. We also provide bespoke training in supporting young people from different faiths, cultures and backgrounds can learn to live well with difference.

In October 2020, The Feast launched its Transforming Dialogue Hub as a dedicated training arm of The Feast. The Hub will provide increased training, resources and support to schools, youth workers and community/faith groups wanting to help their young people to live well with difference. The Hub can also provide tailored training for Businesses and Local Authorities who wish to help support and bring out the best in their diverse staff teams.

If you would like us to come and train your staff, please contact us on 0121 213 1711 or contact@thefeast.org.uk.

 

 
Who do I contact if I want to start The Feast in my area?

If you are interested in knowing more about the work or setting it up in your area, please email contact@thefeast.org.uk and we will pass your email onto the person who will be best able to explore that with you.

 

 
How can I get involved?

It is our aim at The Feast to grow a movement of people who are committed to living well with their neighbours of other faiths, where it is normal to connect with respect and trust.  So we really hope we can find a way for you to get involved.

 

If you are 11-18 years old, or work with young people, check out the Events section for details of the activities we have open at the moment.  Or get in touch with the staff in your area to find out what they are working on.

 

Other ways include:

Pray or stay informed – sign up for our newsletter.

Volunteer –  find out more at our volunteer section under Support.

Training – we run regular training opportunities, but may be able to develop something specifically for your needs.

Promote – share our work with your family, friends, faith group or network.  Check out our social media feeds or get in touch for resources you can access.

Donate – financial support is vital to the ongoing work, so please visit our Donate page to find out how you can give.