Bridges for Communities exists to connect people from different cultures and faiths, giving them the opportunity to build friendships and understand one another better. We seek to challenge the stereotypes and prejudice that exist between different groups of people, and we do this by promoting interaction and friendship.
Our strategy is simple – we seek to give people who would not ordinarily meet the chance to do so, and we promote friendship and understanding between them. Much of the fear and prejudice that exists in our world does so because of ignorance, misperceptions, and lack of connection. Bridges for Communities wants to address these at the grass-roots level; creating spaces for positive interaction between people, and sharing positive stories wherever possible. We also seek to support some of the most marginalised in society, namely asylum seekers and refugees, and we provide training for people who want to build bridges in their local communities.
We live in an incredibly interconnected world, but one that is also fractured and divided. Violence and fear between people of different faiths, cultures and nationalities seems to be constantly in the news, and at times it can be difficult to find positive stories of diverse people getting along well. Britain today is a diverse country too, with communities from many different cultures and faiths living side by side with one another, but at times having little meaningful interaction. There is a profound lack of understanding and trust, and this has lead to a marked increase in hate crime motivated by religion and ethnicity in recent years. The need to foster better understanding between people of different cultures and faiths has perhaps never felt more pertinent.
Sharing a meal together gives people from different cultures and faiths the opportunity to meet and build friendships.
We bring people together around religious festivals and feasts — like Ramadan and Christmas — to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes.
This project provides one-to-one support for refugees and asylum-seekers in Bristol, who may be isolated or struggling.
We organise special events and days out for refugees and asylum seekers, giving them a break from the challenges of daily life.
We organise trips to connect people in the UK and the Middle East, facilitating opportunities for perceptions to be changed and for friendships to be built.
We provide cultural awareness training for working crossculturally, and refugee support training for groups working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and vulnerable migrants.
Dan is the co-founder and Director of Bridges. He leads Bridges’ cultural exchange programs between the UK and the Middle East, as well as coordinating local initiatives and training in Bristol.
Sam is the Project Manager of b.friend, providing one-to-one support for asylum seekers and refugees through our amazing volunteers.
Originally from Yemen, Bushra is our Refugee Engagement Worker and is responsible for organising our programme of social events for refugees and asylum seekers.
Karen is the latest member of our team, coming on board to help run the Syria Befriend programme and to provide logistical support.
Mirna is our Monitoring and Communications assistant. Originally from Jordan, she helps us to gather feedback, improve our effectiveness, and communicate in Arabic.
Sarah and Mark are the Bridges representatives for Cardiff, Wales. They are also the visionaries behind Peace Feast!