As Communities Secretary, a core part of my mission is to ensure that we are building stronger, more integrated communities where people of all backgrounds and beliefs have a stake and pride in the place that they live.
But what does this look like in reality?
Communities living and building together side-by-side. People giving their time to make a real difference to their local area – this is surely a vision of community that we can all unite behind.
This Sunday, as people around the country take part in the tenth annual Mitzvah Day, we will all have an opportunity to see examples of this vision in action.
Mitzvah Day will see families, friends, faith leaders, community groups and more come together to volunteer in important local projects and unite behind worthy causes that support the most vulnerable in our society.
The success of this project over the years has been unprecedented – seeing over 400,000 volunteers contributing to 10,000 projects across the country.
This project is underpinned by the principle of the ‘mitzvah’, a good deed, which is so central to Jewish beliefs but that also resonates across British life. Indeed, Mitzvah Day has inspired people from a wide range of faiths and backgrounds including Christians and Muslims alike to give to the needy, volunteer in a care home or lend a helping hand at a local shelter.
It is essential that we continue to bridge divides in this way and unlock the full potential of our communities.
That’s why I’m proud that my department supports initiatives like Inter-Faith Week, which also ran this week.
It is also why I will be embarking on a tour of the nation, during which I will meet and celebrate people doing great work in their communities – very much in the spirit of Mitzvah Day – as part of my department’s Community Roadshow.
I also know that while our nation’s strength comes from our rich diversity, challenges remain. This year’s Mitzvah Day takes place at a time of increased reports of religiously
–motivated hate crime, intolerance and prejudice.
I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm that this Government remains resolute in challenging hatred wherever and whenever it appears in our society.
Mitzvah Day reminds us that Jewish people have always been integral to British society, contributing to every aspect of our shared culture, heritage and national life.
So, I share my thanks to the thousands of volunteers who will give their time this weekend for the sake of others on Mitzvah Day and beyond. You serve as a proud example of what can be achieved when we heed the call to give of our time in service of others.