FORMER Prime Minister Tony Blair has praised a Jewish-led national volunteering day for its ability to "build bridges between different faiths".

In a special video message produced for Mitzvah Day, which takes place on Sunday, Mr Blair urged more people to join the expected 20,000 volunteers helping community projects across the UK and abroad.

He said Mitzvah Day showed that "donating our time and labour is more valuable than giving our money".

Mr Blair added: "On this day of social action, Jews from every corner of the world, from the UK, South Africa, Israel and the USA set aside time to help their communities.

"Working in partnership with Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Seikhs, food and clothes are collected for refugees, elderly people are visited, flowers and trees are planted, schools and playgrounds are painted.

"The aim is to show that faith expresses itself in what we do, rather than simply what we say."

Mitzvah Day also coincides this year with the start of Interfaith Week and the first ever National Sewa Day, a Hindu-led "good deeds" day based on Mitzvah Day.

This Sunday, a team from the Times and Independent Series newsroom will also be rolling their sleeves up and helping to transform a disused play area into a wildlife garden at Meryfield School in Borehamwood.