My Sandwell Login/Register

Working with Faith Centres to Improve Air Quality | Air quality | Sandwell Council

Supporting Sandwell with the cost of living

Supporting you to make the most of your money and find help if you need it. Find out more about how we're Supporting Sandwell. →

Air quality

Working with Faith Centres to Improve Air Quality

Sandwell's Faith Communities for Clean Air logo

Working with Faith Centres in Sandwell to Improve Air Quality via Behavioural Change

In response to the challenge of improving air quality in Sandwell, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s Air Quality team made a successful bid to DEFRA for a 2021 Air Quality Grant. The grant will be used to engage with faith leaders and their communities across the whole borough. We want to raise awareness about air pollution and create behavioural change to improve the health of the participants and their local communities. Sandwell is a superdiverse, multi-cultural and multi-faith borough, and has some of the largest and well-attended faith centres in the country. We want to support our faith-based organisations in leading the way towards community-driven, community-designed improvements in air quality.  This is an important issue as ethnicity is strongly correlated to air pollution exposure as we know ethnic minorities are more likely to live in polluted areas.  As there is a significant representation of people who are black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) within Sandwell’s faith communities, working to reduce their exposure to air pollution is a priority for the Air Quality team.
 

Eight faith centres, with one located in each of Sandwell’s six towns, will receive a low-cost air quality monitor “Zephyr” for a year, that is located near to their centre. This will provide data to a display screen inside the main area of the centre, showing air pollutant levels in a bespoke dashboard format. The information relayed from the air quality monitor will be accessed via the internet on Sandwell’s bespoke air quality dashboard.  This dashboard will be accessed via computer, tablet or smart phone, and will be available for everyone to see at a glance if there are low, medium or high levels of air pollution at various locations across the six towns of Sandwell. (In addition to the 8 faith centres there will also be an additional 12 monitors providing real-time air quality information across the whole borough). To assist with bringing this air quality dashboard to the attention of each faith community a Wi-Fi enabled 43” display screen will be provided in a prominent place in the faith centre. The dashboard is able to view: https://portal.earthsense.co.uk/SandwellPublic

The faith centres will also receive a toolkit, containing information about the types of indoor and outdoor air pollution, funding and grant opportunities, information for local businesses, methods of community engagement, sustainable forms of transport, ideas for campaigns and more. Before the monitor and toolkit, the centres will be given a questionnaire to assess the level of understanding and perceived importance of air quality. Based on the dashboard and the toolkit, in addition to access to the Council’s Air Pollution Officers and support from the Public Health Development Officers, the centres will be encouraged to use all these resources to find intervention methods that best suit their specific centre’s needs and community. Each faith centre has different needs, so providing them with the tools to choose their own intervention methods allows each centre to have a tailored air quality plan. At the end of the first 12 months, the faith centres will be asked to produce a report about their intervention methods, and to attend an air quality conference to discuss intervention methods with other faith centres. They will also receive a second questionnaire, to measure any change in understanding and perceived importance of air quality.

A copy of the Air Pollution toolkit for faith centres is also available to download on our document page, as well as each of the monthly newsletters for the project. Each newsletter follows a different air quality theme.

For the second year of the project, the eight low-cost air quality monitor “Zephyrs” will be moved to a further eight faith centres across Sandwell, to repeat the project.  At the end of 12 months the 8 faith leaders will meet with each other as well as the next 8 faith centre leaders, to share their experiences and provide a report on the outcomes from the project on their communities.

We currently have eight confirmed faith groups taking part in the first year of the project. These are:

  • Parish Church of St Francis Assisi, Wednesbury
  • Hindu Temple / Shree Pashupatinath Mandir (Shani Dham), Rowley Regis
  • Yemeni Community Association in Sandwell, West Bromwich
  • Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, Smethwick
  • Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple, Oldbury
  • Smethwick Jamia Masjid, Smethwick
  • The Wesley Centre for All, Wednesbury
  • St Matthews, Tipton

If you are a member of a faith centre who would like to take part, or would like more information about this project, please contact pollution_control@sandwell.gov.uk