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Everything seems to fall into place. I really valued the objective analysis of the trainers.

Participant, Women's voluntary group, Manchester

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Voluntary Sector Training
Building capacity in the voluntary sector
Download our Voluntary Sector Training Services Brochure

Every day across many towns and districts in the UK, dedicated volunteers in their thousands make a real contribution to society’s well being. Their engagement within the voluntary sector brings genuine worth to our social capital. But finding your way through different national and local structures and systems, or funding streams, can appear daunting and this can hamper your creativity and impact.

Our training services for the voluntary sector are designed to help individuals and institutions build their capacity and develop their understanding of British Muslims and social policy concerns. And the good news is that for the voluntary sector, our courses are heavily subsidised, so they are affordable.

The Policy Research Centre provides expert training aimed at equipping the voluntary sector with an understanding of the Muslim picture - its diversity, its story and its challenges, and with an understanding of social policy and how things work.

Our training is not generalised and we tailor each course to address the specific policy needs of our clients. We normally deliver training on-site, but can also arrange residential courses.

You can learn more about our most popular modules in the section below. They can be combined and adapted to meet more specific needs. Each presentation can be from 30 min upwards, depending on the depth sought, though ideally a 45 min presentation with 45 min discussion.

So contact us today and see how we can help deliver the training you require.


Our Voluntary Sector Training Modules

Charities and the Value of Social Capital
Social CapitalWhat is social capital and how is it valued? The broader impact of charitable and other voluntary initiatives on the social fabric and well being of society. The governance of charities in the UK. Raising better awareness of and being recognised for the contribution your organisation and you make.
Legal Issues for the Voluntary Sector
Legal IssuesAn outline of legal issues concerning the voluntary sector. Religion, charitable purposes and the law. The role of the Charity Commission and the impact of equalities legislation.
The Legal System: How Laws are Made
The Legal SystemThe process and short history of law making in the UK. Where are the laws contained and do they change? Separation of Powers. Do all court cases involve a criminal offence and what are ‘civil’ cases. Understanding the court system. Alternative systems available to resolve disputes.
Understanding Social Policy
Social CapitalWhat is social policy and how does it affect people? How are ‘bad laws’ challenged and changed? Who makes social policies and what forces can influence how such policies are shaped? How is faith or religion connected to social policy?
Fundraising for your Organisation
Organisational FundraisingFunds are a vital part of voluntary work. An awareness of sources of funding and the different types of government schemes and private trusts can help you plan with greater confidence. What are schemes looking for and how can we build common objectives without compromising our held principles and aims? What is ‘government money’ and what’s in it for them?
Understanding Local Government
Understanding Local GovernmentLocal government is the closest form of government to citizens. All local matters and day to day services are run by local government departments. There are key differences in the roles of your local MPs, the local council and local councillors. Understanding local government can open many doors for civic engagement and also make its impact felt on national government offices.
Contemporary Issues Facing Britain’s Muslims
British Muslim IssuesAn appreciation of the multi-layered questions and issues that have come to challenge Islamic thought and the outlook of Muslims. The ‘melting pot’ of different schools of thought, ages, social backgrounds and cultural traditions in Britain. The pressures upon young people, women and mosques.
Women in Islamic Teachings
Women IslamKey teachings and key misunderstandings concerning half of all Muslims. The impact of cultural origins and of modernity on religious approaches to Islamic teachings on women. Women in Muhammad’s day: social norms, legal provisions and participation. The impact of hadith, false hadith and ‘fiqh’ on women. The rise of an Islamic feminist discourse.
Groups and Schools of Thought (Madhabs) within Islam
Schools of ThoughtMaking sense of the diversity within Islamic thought – the denominations and religious trends. A look at how differences arose and the impact of time and history upon groups and schools of thought. The social context of the Deobandi and Barelvi ‘camps’ within the Sub-Continent, who control the majority of UK mosques. Salafism, Wahabism, Sufism and Reformism - how and where they originated.
What is the Sharia?
ShariaPossibly the subject area that is most misunderstood by Muslims. Looking at key misunderstandings, the main objectives or purposes of religious laws and ethics, and the development of Islamic legal thought. What is ‘fiqh’ and how does it differ from ‘sharia’? The tension between modernity and established religious legal thought.
Understanding Hadith in Religious Thought
Understanding ShariaHadith, the collected statements by and concerning God’s Messenger, provide the most important resource for understanding the Muslim scripture or Quran. How, when and why were they collected? Do all Muslims use the same collections? Applying hadith to make religious teachings. The text of a hadith (or its translation) in the absence of its context. False hadith attributed to Muhammad and their impact, especially on women. Questioning hadith.
Aspects of Muhammad’s Life
Muhammad's LifeLoved by a billion people across the world, Muhammad’s life is central to Muslim thought and action. A summary of his life and some key events. Interpretations of his actions that shape themes around the Islamic ‘purpose’ or ‘goal.’ Sharing his life. Character assassination. What did Muhammad leave behind? Books written about his life in English.
Introduction to Islamic Beliefs and Practices
Islamic Beliefs and PracticesThe primary beliefs of Islam and their implications on ‘belief and good deeds'. An overview of Muslim ritual practices such as prayer, zakah and fasting.
Young, British, Muslim and Questioned
Young British MuslimsOver 50% of Britain’s Muslims are under 25, and mostly British born and bred. They have been under intense scrutiny and pressure, and face many questions on identity and loyalties. An assessment of the changing demographics, opportunities and challenges concerning young Muslims.
Mosques and Modern Britain
MosquesAssessing the role of the institution of the mosque in modern Britain. The tensions between continuing modernity and preserving traditions, in a pro-secular and rights focused world. The mosque and political engagement. Features of Muhammad’s mosque. A mosque for all: women, youth, the less able and recent migrants? Anti-Muslim sentiments and local communities. Celebrating your mosque.
Understanding Jihadist Thought
JihadJihad verses ‘Jihadism’. Laying out the jihadist worldview and its narratives. What is jihadism responding to and what do jihadist-terrorists want? The roots of takfir and its adaptation in modern jihadism. Just war theory in Islamic thought and its application – or misapplication – in jihadist theory. Suicide bombing and ‘diy’ revenge.
Integration verses Rejection
Muslim IntegrationResponding to the challenges, opportunities and threats of being Muslims and being British. Muslims in Britain verses Muslims of Britain? Dar ul Kufr and Dar ul Islam. Notions of an Islamic ‘system’ and objections to the democratic process and voting. Citizenship and allegiance – tensions and confusions. State careers: police, armed forces, in government. The ‘fiqh of minorities’. Identity politics and representation – help or hindrance?
Training the Trainer: Presenting Faith Issues
Training the trainersPresenting religion or faith issues to different audiences. When is imparting information not seen as preaching? How are we seen? The positive and negative impact of images. Dealing with limitations and criticisms of one’s religion. Dealing with criticism from other Muslims and with anti-Muslim prejudice.
What Do People Think of Us?
What people thinkWell, what do they think? And how do we know? Does it really matter? Who is “us” and who is “them” - why? Rejectionists, isolationists and integration – approaches to social interaction. Denial, apologising, victimhood, lobbying and offending – approaches to social change. ‘Muslim identity’ – key to survival or a construction in Muslim thought?
Cultural No-Nos
Cultural SensitivitiesWhat happens when the supportive female school teacher reaches out her hand to greet the male imam in full view of her class? When the council plumber comes to the family home and cannot take his shoes off? When the nice Jones family at number 56 on your street greet you in the local park – with their friendly dog? When the local rabbi greets you with ‘Assalamu alaikum’, or when its nearing Christmas and the local church sent the mosque a lovely card at Eid? Cultural trappings or unnecessary obstacles?
British History in an Hour
British HistoryThis will be quite an achievement, but, we hope, a very interesting session. A quick overview of key milestones and events that make our country what it is today.
The Story of Muslim Britain
Muslims in Britain HistoryOutlining the story of Muslim Britain. The 1600s and 1700s. The pre-war communities and first mosques. The post-war migration to Britain. Settlement, citizenship and families. Housing policies and ‘ghetto’ towns. The Commonwealth Immigration Act 1962. Migratory groups from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Converts to Islam.
Pre-War Muslims in Britain
Pre-War Muslims in BritainA journey into the presence and settlement of Muslims before the migrations after World War II. Early converts to Islam, religious activism and the interpretation of Islamic teachings or norms. The component will cover early mosques and religious needs and ceremonies, paying particular attention to the communities in Woking and Liverpool during the late 19th Century.
Understanding the Church
Understanding the ChurchThe history of and the main denominations within the church. The Church of England and Catholic divide. The impact of the church on the development of law and social policy. The church and state today. How are churches governed, managed and maintained? Contemporary challenges facing the church. Evangelism. The church and Muslims. The arena of Interfaith.
The Deobandi-Barelvi Divide
Deobandi BarelviA closer look at the historical factors surrounding and influences leading to the creation of the two main ‘camps’ or secondary schools of thought within organised religion in the Indo-Pakistan region. The main features and key drivers for each. Maturity and growth. Adaptation to the challenges of modern Britain. Communal and sectarian politics (including politics of ‘the new moon’). Representation and common causes. The outlook.
The Shia-Sunni Divide
Shia Sunni DivideOrigins of the divide and its early history. The organisation of religious source material and the development of religious legal systems. Sectarian off shoots and mapping Sunni-Shia demographics. The institutions of learning. The impact of the Wahabi and the Iranian revolutions on relationships with the ‘other’. Violence justified against the other.
British Muslims and the Internet
British Muslims InternetThe scope of the internet to promote your organisation. What can be done, how and what would it cost? The cost of ignoring the internet. Blogs and communication. Free speech and the internet: dealing with and controlling abuse, distortions and unfair comments. A level playing field? How do Muslims fare on the internet? Young Muslims on the internet. Copyright and legal issues.
Muslims in Prison
British Muslims in PrisonOver 10% of Britain’s (crowded) prisons have Muslim prisoners, with numbers increasing for serious crimes. Challenges facing the prison services. Religious needs. Probation. Community attitudes to former prisoners. Government responses to Muslim prisoners. Female prisoners.
Mapping Muslim Britain
Mapping British MuslimsThe lay of the land for Britain’s Muslims. Where are they and how do we know? The numbers, demographics and social trends. The Muslim ‘hot seats’ at the general elections. Socio-economic data on British Muslims. Representing Muslim Britain.
Islamic Revivalism
Islamic RevivalismThe reformist and revivalist movements, their origins and major effects on Muslim thought in the 20th century. Historical figures and the processes of revival. The transportation of revivalist thought and methodologies into Western Islamic institutions and thought.
Forced Marriage, Divorce and Adoption
Muslims Forced Marriage, Divorce and Adoption The concept of marriage. Forced marriage – practices, justifications and factors. Historical, tribal and religious justifications. Divorce and custody issues. DIY 'secret marriage' vows and the growth of Islamic tribunals and courts. Adoption and fostering in Islamic law and the rights of biological parents. Converting to Islam when already married.