PRESS RELEASE: "In Faith, We Dare to Imagine"
Written by Sandra Langston
5th September 2018
The Feast launches its new strategy “In Faith, We Dare to Imagine” and brings a model of hope to counter global trends towards fear and division.
(5th September 2018) The Feast today launches its new strategy “In Faith, We Dare to Imagine”. With their new strategy this innovative, youth charity sets out an ambitious plan to bring together more young people of different faiths and cultures than ever before from diverse and divided communities across the UK and model how honest and respectful dialogue and faith can be a positive force for change.
The Feast CEO, Carolyn Merry, said: “We are thrilled to be able to launch our new strategy today. Its name alone indicates that we recognise that we live in a time that needs hope of a transformed world. With global trends towards austerity, populism, rising hate crime, terrorism, community isolation and increased fears and stereotyping of people different from ourselves becoming the dominant narrative in traditional and social media, The Feast asks young people to dare to imagine a transformed world. A world in which all people are confident in their beliefs and identity, embrace diversity, and are able to flourish alongside one another in peaceful, loving and inclusive communities.”
The Feast has been bringing young people of different faiths and cultures together in youth encounters since 2009. These encounters enable young people to get to experience others who are different from themselves through the sharing of food, fun activities and talking about faith and beliefs, and in so doing help them to dispel stereotypes, reduce fears and build genuine friendships across differences of faiths, cultures and life experiences.
Over the next five years, The Feast aims to work with 10,000 young people of different faiths and cultures across the UK in their Developing Identity, Youth Encounter and Game Changers Leadership Programmes which are designed to help support young people to be peacemakers. To help achieve this, the “In Faith, We Dare to Imagine” strategy invites everyone who works with young people to join a movement committed to embedding The Feast’s Guidelines for Dialogue and approach across society as a model of hope. The Feast will facilitate this by expanding its work with schools, faith and community groups, and other youth organisations to provide the training and resources in supporting young people to develop genuine friendships and dialogue across even deep social divides.
The Feast founder and Chair of Trustees, Dr Andrew Smith commented: “If you have ever looked at what is happening in the world and despaired at the increasing violence, division and fear, look instead at our phenomenal young people who are stepping out in faith and showing us what loving your neighbour as yourself really means in today’s world.”
Or as 13-year old Omar puts it: “The Feast is amazing. It’s a life-changer.”
Special Note of Thanks
The Feast would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, who have so generously hosted our Strategic Launch today. We are extremely grateful for all your support for the work of The Feast. A special mention to Phil Clissitt, Amy Tabari and Usmaan Butt – without whom today would not have been possible. Thank you!
Notes to Editor:
The Feast is a leading, faith-based, youth-centred movement encouraging young people to be resilient and confident in their beliefs and identity, able to build meaningful friendships with people who are different from themselves, able to honestly and respectfully discuss beliefs and challenging issues and are committed to living well with their neighbour as peacemakers for the wellbeing of society.
Guidelines for Dialogue: The Feast’s signature tool for empowering young people to engage well with people who are different from themselves is our Guidelines for Dialogue. These 10 guidelines are incredibly simple, but when used by all they allow the creation of safe spaces for young people to gain the skills and confidence to have very honest, respectful and sometimes more difficult conversations that they ever though were possible.
Youth Encounters: Youth Encounters provide opportunities for young people from different faiths and cultures to experience others who are different from themselves through fun activities, sharing of food and talking about their beliefs. It is through youth encounters that young people can dispel stereotypes, reduce fears and build genuine friendships across differences of faith, culture and life experiences.
Media enquiries: For enquiries about The Feast, please contact Dr Andrew Smith on 07702 831090 or email Andrew@thefeast.org.uk
A summary of the strategy can be found HERE.
The Social Media Hashtag for the launch is #TheFeastDarestoImagine