Three grassroots initiatives that explored ways of easing tensions, and increasing understanding, between long-term residents and newly arrived communities.
Over the last decade, refugee settlement policy has resulted in thousands of newly arrived asylum seekers and refugees being housed in deprived areas across the UK. Simultaneously, there has also been significant economic immigration from Eastern Europe to many of the same areas.
A lack of adequate integration planning, combined with negative public stereotyping of refugees and new migrants, has resulted in tension and alienation between communities.
Communities R Us (2004-2008) was an inventive project featuring three pilots in Manchester, Bolton and Wakefield. It aimed to enable grassroot initiatives that might ease tensions and increase understanding between long-term residents and newly arrived refugees and other migrant communities.
All residents were encouraged to share their concerns and then develop community improvement programmes together. These included having flower baskets, arts projects and discussions about the community's problems with drugs.
These initiatives opened up lines of communication, broke down barriers and built personal relationships for the future.
Insights from the project include an evaluation report that is essential reading for tenants and residents groups, local community groups, housing support officers and others working to improve cohesion.
A summary of this report on Commmunities R Us is also available.
This report is designed to share the learning from Communities R Us with people who wish to promote cohesion in their neighbourhoods including tenant, resident and community groups and people from local authorities and housing organisations who want to support them.
The report examines the experiences of the three pilot neighbourhoods: New Moss Brook, Harpurhey in North Manchester; Agbrigg and Belle Vue in Wakefield; and the Derby Road/Deane Road area in Bolton. It highlights a number of lessons that can be drawn from the pilots,and demonstrates the benefits of community action.
Alternatively, you can download this short summary of the report