The project originated from a motion passed by General Synod on 23rd November 2010, as follows:
"This Synod, in recognition of the coalition government's interest in partnering with voluntary organisations in building local communities and the Church of England's successful existing partnership role in the provision of education throughout England, asks the Archbishops' Council to:
(a) acknowledge and celebrate all those within the Church who are currently involved in building better neighbourhoods, in either diocesan, deanery or parish bodies, other agencies or an individual capacity, and request their support in the development of new partnerships with government;
(b) establish a dialogue with the government and other churches to explore the potential for new partnerships in a variety of respects, affirming the work already undertaken in this respect as set out in GS1804;
(c) undertake a feasibility study with benefactor funding and in association with other churches and Christian agencies and prepare business templates for various options which could be used by dioceses and others who choose to make such partnership(s) a reality in their local area without delaying while progress with ‘Near Neighbours’ is assessed, in view of the severe economic circumstances and the government’s need for action;
(d) report to General Synod as soon as such a feasibility study has been completed, or during 2012, whichever is sooner"
The motion took the form of a Following Motion proposed by Gavin Oldham after a ‘Take Note’ debate on the Big Society., and is based on Christian teaching to love our neighbour as ourselves. The parable of the good Samaritan tells us who we should regard as our neighbour and, in Matthew 25: 31-46 we are told to see our Lord in all those who are disadvantaged.
The Feasibility Study’s main purpose is to act as a catalyst in bringing together current best practice in Christian care in local communities with the resources and knowledge base needed to multiply those good works across the country over the coming years.