Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has warned church leaders that they need to overcome local councils' suspicions that their motives for helping communities are led by the desire to evangelise.
In a speech to 400 faith leaders from social action movement Faithworks in London last week, Kennedy said: "There is a tendency for local authorities to distrust voluntary groups linked to a religious group." He added that councillors suspect that outreach work will be used to convert people, or by fundamentalist groups to sow discord.
Speaking at last week's volunteering conference at the Treasury, cabinet minister Paul Boateng MP said: "Local authorities are uncomfortable with faith groups. Many are even more so with the voluntary sector, and will use proselytising as an excuse to ignore it. I don't expect volunteers to leave their faith at the door, but I say no to proselytising."