The Women First Group is an all-women’s inter-faith group located in Smethwick.

It has been running for a few years ever since it started as a Near Neighbours-supported project. The group provides a space for women of different faiths to spend time together and in doing so gives them the opportunity to share knowledge of their faith, form friendships, and have fun.

Through activities like its annual Christmas pudding making session, women of different faiths and backgrounds have formed long lasting and meaningful friendships. As one of the group’s participants put it: ‘We’ve have got our own WhatsApp group where we chat and we all cheer each other on when people have achieved something or done something. So it’s quite a good group in that sense; we all come together’.

An equivalent men’s group has also been established in the same area. Participants explained how friendships developed after people attended events and activities during which they deepened their understanding of each other’s faiths and religions. Recently, the men decided to take a tour of the UK, showing each other where they ‘came to faith’. An intense and illuminating experience, the tour strengthened the bonds of friendship between some of the members to the extent that they refer to each as ‘brothers’.

"We all cheer each other on when people have achieved something or done something."

Group Member