Bringing people together!

Shaz Akhtar Black Country Near Neighbours Coordinator

Our Black Country Near Neighbours Coordinator is Shaz Akhtar

Use the button below to contact her

Published 29th May 2019

Updated 24th June 2021

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During these strange Covid-19 period, all of our work is focusing on Covid-19 support to Black Country communities.

Between January and March we are expanding our work to support those most at risk from Covid-19, inpartnership with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Near Neighbours.

This support includes:

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Dr Masood Ahmed Chief Medical Officer Black Country & West Birmingham CCG

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Near Neighbours to spread the word, answer questions and connect with communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Near Neighbours are at the heart of our communities, working together to reach the fantastically diverse people and communities whom we serve. With the support of organisations like Near Neighbours I am confident that we have helped to reduce hesitancy and activate the hope that the COVID-19 vaccinations give our communities so that they can be protected from this deadly virus and continue to thrive.”
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Mohammed Yasin Community Development Worker Equality & Diversity, Inclusion Team - Black Country Healthcare NHS Trust

Thanks for all your help with the webinars over the past months, they were certainly beneficial in helping to eliminate some of the myths, false information circulating on social media etc.
Because of how great our partnership worked in bringing communities from all backgrounds together, I am keen to continue to do some work on a local level (Black Country wide)."

One of TCT’s major pieces of work is our delivery of the Near Neighbours programme in the Black Country.

Through our partnership with the national Near Neighbours charity, we help to bring funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to the Black Country.

We work with grassroots groups, communities, faith groups and councils.

Streetly Prayer Event 2019
Streetly Interfaith Prayer Event 2019, organised by our friends at All Saints Church, Streetly

Near Neighbours brings people together in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in.

Our work includes:

  • Small Grants (now closed)
  • Real People, Honest Talk (RPHT), which brings people together to talk about the tough issues around how we live together well.
  • Events to bring people together around current topics chosen by listening to the lived experience of our community partners eg Faith, Finance and ...


We caught up with our friends at Stratton Street Community Centre in Wolverhampton to see what impact a Near Neighbours grant has on their community building.


A number of case studies of our work in the Black Country are featured in the latest Near Neighbours impact report.

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Our work in Dudley
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Our work in Sandwell
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We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us

Jo Cox