Published on 15th November 2016

Holding hands

• Celebration event held on Thursday 17th November, 7pm at the University of Gloucestershire, Park Campus, Room TC007 (in the main reception building), The Park.

The theme for Cheltenham’s main event to mark national Inter Faith Week this year is ‘People of Sanctuary’ and is an exploration of faith and the refugee crisis. The event is open to all and the aim is to bring together different faith and non-faith communities and to strengthen good inter faith relations. 

The evening will start with a multi-cultural buffet, and everyone is invited to bring a dish to share. During the evening we will consider experiences of arriving in Cheltenham as refugees; hear about work going on locally to support refugees and asylum seekers, and consider extracts from texts from different faiths that relate to the issue. Donations of money are welcomed to support the work of charities supporting refugees. 

Cheltenham Inter Faith, the University of Gloucestershire and Cheltenham Borough Council are working together to host the event and to raise awareness of Cheltenham’s different faith communities.   

Peter Slocombe, chair of Cheltenham Inter Faith said: "Inter Faith Week gives everyone a chance to extend a hand of friendship and understanding. This is more relevant than ever this year as we explore faith in relation to very relevant issue of the refugee crisis”. 

Jo Parkin, chaplain for the University of Gloucestershire said: “We hope that this year’s event will be inspiring as we explore the theme of compassion and welcoming the stranger in different faith traditions.”

Helen Down, participation and engagement team leader from Cheltenham Borough Council said: “This is an opportunity for people of different beliefs to come together and to learn more about each other and to increase understanding. Everyone is welcome to join us”.

The aim is for faith and non-faith communities to come together to celebrate and learn more about each other, in order to strengthen good inter faith relations and increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs. 

Anyone is welcome to attend this free event. For more details, please contact Helen Down on 01242 774960 or Jo Parkin on 01242 714593.

For press enquiries, contact: Jemima Lawson, communications officer, telephone 01242 775050, email

Notes to editors:

National Inter Faith Week, now in its eighth year, takes place this year from 13-20 November. Its aims are to:

  • Strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels
  • Increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
  • Increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs

Social media users are being encouraged to use the hashtag #IFWeek in tweets/posts about the Week as well as to post photos, quotes and ideas linked to the aims of the Week using the hashtag #LivingWellTogether. 'Living Well Together' has been a thread running through Inter Faith Week since 2011.