Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Steering Group - final meeting

With the the project's objectives accomplished, tonight's meeting was to review the conference and consider where and how the findings may now be made use of.

Publicly accessible on the Spiritual Capital website, its existence needs to be made known as widely as possible to the City's information networks. Keith Kimber to follow this up and liaise with Pollenshop over updating.

Report distribution
Two hundred hard copies were printed. Half of these are available for distribution to interested parties. Despite the preliminary work done on promoting the project report, the sole media report was negative and hostile, aiming to marginalise the initiative. Much more personal lobbying is needed from Steering Group members and Churches Together partners, to ensure it is widely read and distributed.

Monica Mills has agreed to approach Cardiff Inter-faith forum with a view to holding a follow up meeting in September on the report and its recommendations, as a first stage towards the possible creation of an arm's length organisation that could bid for funds to employ someone to liaise with the Council on behalf of faith communities. Generating cross-party and inter-faith good will towards the outcome of this project is agreed to be the next best step.

The Research Steering Group dissolves at this point in time.

This blog will remain open, to record eventual progress with outcomes.

Special thanks to are due to Roy Thomas, Paul Ballard, Monica Mills, Chris Daley, Mohammed Jabbar, Keshav Singhal and Gwilym Morris of Pollenshop for all they gave to bring this project to an end - which is only a new beginning.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Finally, the Spiritual Capital Conference

This afternoon at Future Inn, Cardiff Bay, the Spiritual Capital Research Report was launched at a conference attended by seventy people double the number expected - Christians of all persuasions, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were among the participants. The Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Judith Woodman, and Policy Advisor Paul Orders were among the speakers. The conference was chaired by Project Manager Roy Thomas.

With the exception of Professor Ballard, who was launching a book on church and the city centre at a theologians' conference in Bristol, all members of the Steering Group were present. Dr Keshav Singhal took part in the concluding panel discussion, and the Project Director introduced the report.

Details of the afternoon's proceedings will be posted on the revamped website www.spiritualcapital-cardiff.org.uk

The full research report is downloadable from this site, whcih also publishes a complete database of Cardiff Borough's religious communities, a key outcome of the research.

The Report recommendation that a religious communities officer be appointed as part of its Diversity team with the specific remit to keep city government better informed about faith communities and enable greater participation from them in shaping the vision of the City's future, is something which the conference agreed is worth further investigation by all sides.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Yet another change of venue

Conference organisers were today informed that a strike on 16th July would make it impossible to use County Hall as a meeting place.

Thankfully, the Future Inn hotel in the vicinity of Atlantic Wharf is able to provide us with conference facilities, so this alternative venue has been booked.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Conference venue changed

The date, 16th July, 1.30 - 5.00pm remains unchanged, but the offer of using Committee Room 3 in County Hall has been accepted instead.

This should make it easier for LGOs and members invited to attend in the midst of their busy schedules.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Conference date re-set

The date for the launch conference has now had to be re-set in order to accommodate key Council speakers, and secure a venue. A range of desirable places were found to be taken up with public examinations or enquiries.

Finally City United Reformed Church has agreed to welcome the conference between 1.30 and 5.00 pm on Wednesday 16th July.

Now the business of publicising the event and be pursued with vigour.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Database compilation completed

Work on compiling and checking the faith-groups database for the Borough of Cardiff is now complete. This represents 195 religious community groups and 17 administrative organisations, which have been identified due to information about them published on the Web.

The number of websites relating to religious communities in Cardiff Borough seems to have increased in the year during which the research has taken place. This may be partly due to the availability of new on-line publishing tools, but also due to improved placement of existing sites, making some sites more readily findable. It is noticeable that some commercially sponsored specialised information providing websites do not provide up to date information. This can lead to misleading searches and requires additional error checking.

Independent error checking of the information gathered into the Spiritual Capital database will be essential before its web publication next month.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Report ready to go

Following corrections, the full report is now ready for printing and private circulation, before public launch. It's proving difficult to acquire a suitable venue for the conference and document launch on our preferred dates - 4th or 5th June.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Project funding all accounted for

Acknowledgement was received today from the Community Development Foundation of receipt of the final project reports and financial statements required by their management process, submitted at the end of last month.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Tenth Steering Group meeting

The draft of the report, commentary and selection case studies to accompany the University and 'Ask Cardiff' research reports is now complete, following further work to re-organise some of the content, proposed by Professor Ballard. It was received by the Steering Group for a period of detailed corrections and amendments.

Work on the accompanying database is half complete, and its final format for web publication is under discussion with Gwilym Morris of Pollenshop.

Copies of the draft report will now be circulated to a list of a dozen people for evaluation, and hopefully for endorsing comments for use in the publication process. Archbishop Barry Morgan has agreed to be its first reader person outside the project, also Paul Orders of the City Council's Policy Unit.

The Steering Group has agreed to the publication of up to fifty copies of the full report, and a print run of at least two hundred and fifty copies of an eight page digest of the report and its recommendations. If it is possible to find funding for a Welsh translation of the digest, this will be produced bi-lingually. However, the project costings at the outset failed to factor in the need for translation, which could be of the order of £1,000.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Ninth Steering Group meeting

This evening's meeting received both the University research report and the fruit of the drafting work on the overall project report, undertaken by Paul Ballard, Roy Thomas, and the Director.

Members will now review these documents and report back corrections and amendments during the course of the coming week.

The next stage in the process will be to issue pre-publication copies to a list of selected people in positions of authority, among religious community leaders and Council members and officers, to obtain some feedback about the product, prior to publication.

Gwilym Morris of 'The Pollen Shop' has been engaged to take charge of the final conference arrangements, and web publication of findings.

Work continues on the production of the database and printed directory of religious communities.

The Director reported that all the project's financial commitments had been met, within the deadline set by FCCBF.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Survey report received

The survey report from Cardiff University's Regeneration Institute was delivered today. This enables the rest of the project report writing to be completed well within the revised time scale. This document includes the results of the Spiritual Capital survey, and the public opinion poll conducted by 'Ask Cardiff' on our behalf.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Drafting in progress

A second revised draft of the survey findings has been received from the University. Prof Ballard, Roy Thomas and Keith Kimber are working at writing and shaping various sections of SC research material, gathered over the past nine months, into a full text for publication.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Steering Group eighth meeting

The meeting planned for the 4th March was postponed until today, because of the unavailability of the survey data report from the University, promised for 29th February in good time for the planned steering group meeting.

Today's meeting received appraisals of the data received late 4th March, and the first draft of supporting material from the project manager within which the research data will be embedded.
An action plan for the production of the final report by mid-April was agreed.

The project manager reported that two public relations companies had been approached about publishing the final research report - and in addition to undertake the preparation and running of the conference at which the report will be delivered - now proposed for the end of May 2008. These are Peter Gill & Associates of Cardiff, and The Pollen Shop, of Swansea.

This is now being planned to run two months behind the initial schedule for this event, due to the delay in receiving the research data to work on. However, this appears to work in our favour, since local elections are called for early May. In the run-up to elections, it would not be reasonable to expect adequate attention to discussing our findings from candidates or local government officers.

Gweini survey report launched

At a lunchtime meeting in the Millennium Centre today, before an audience of church leaders AMs and government officials, with full media attendance, Gweini made public the findings of its two year research project.

The report estimates that the value of social capital contributed in voluntary public service by religious communities in Wales is £102 million, and in the Capital city, approx £10 million.

Gweini's findings can be found here

The Western Mail's digest of the report can be found here

THese findings provide an important context for the reporting of the Spiritual Capital survey.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Steering group seventh meeting

The Steering Group met tonight, and received an update on questionnaire harvesting. The deadline has had to be extended until 14th February, as little has been achieved since early December apart from chasing up some of the non respondents. Receipts remain around the 35% mark, and around 10% were returned, 'address unknown'. The report from the 'Ask Cardiff' survey is expected mid February as well.

Publication of findings and an interpretative report is re-scheduled for 31st March, with review of a first draft around 28th February. Prof Ballard has been asked to contribute an introduction to the report, to place the whole thing in the broader perspective of churhc, local government relations in Cardiff over decades.

This means that the date of the conference for presenting findings cannot now take place in early April, as it will take time to publicise. The Local Council Election take place in early May, and campaigning for this event will inhibit our ability to raise a conference audience, so a date in early June is being sought instead, with County Hall as a possible meeting venue.

It was announced that the Gweini social audi report 'Counting for our Communities' is to be launched publicly on 11th March. The Steering Group will be represented at this occasion.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Reporting to donors

The required third quarter project report to FCCBF grants administrator was completed and sent off today, ahead of schedule, due to the Director going on leave.