Lord Bourne was in Luton on Thursday to take part in a project that is bringing together school children of different faiths.
The government-funded Schools Linking Programme aims to help school kids learn more about the different faiths and backgrounds in their local communities.
Around 18,000 children are involved in the programme, which gives them sustained opportunities to meet each other and work together with a view to developing their spiritual, moral, and cultural understanding.
Children from different schools and backgrounds are given the chance to work together on a range of projects, from sporting events, to collaborative artwork, team-building exercises and community volunteering.
Two schools that have benefited from the programme are Armitage Church of England Primary School in Manchester and North Cheshire Jewish Primary School in Stockport.
In one simple exercise, Year 3 classes at the two schools exchanged the names of everyone in their class before meeting in person. This sparked conversation about the different names, while two boys who happened to have the same name became friends through their shared connection.
Lord Bourne, the Government’s Faith Minister joined pupils in a visit to the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton on Thursday to see the project first-hand.
He said: ‘Schools Linking is a great example of how children and young people from different backgrounds can come together to meet, learn and share interests that help them prepare for life in modern Britain and make them great citizens of the future.
‘The government is determined to support programmes such as these to ensure young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to take part in challenging and rewarding experiences.’