Peterborough chosen for integrated communities strategy

Peterborough has been chosen as one of five areas to participate in a government programme aimed at improving community integration.

The city has been selected because of positive work that has been carried out to help bring communities together, such as the council's successful Syrian Refugee resettlement project as well as extensive annual festivals and community events.

The Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, to which £50m will be committed over the next two years, seeks views on the Government’s proposals to boost English language skills, increase opportunities for more women to enter the workplace, and promote British values and meaningful discussion between young people.  

As well as Peterborough, the government will work with four other 'Integration Areas' to develop local integration plans. These are: Blackburn with Darwen; Bradford; Walsall and Waltham Forest. 

The five local authorities have already demonstrated a keen grasp of the challenges they face and shown a desire to try new things and learn from what works. Learning from these areas about what works - and, just as importantly, what doesn’t work - will be shared more widely as the programme develops. 

The first stage in the programme will see a 12 week public consultation take place up until June 5, giving people a chance to have their say on the most effective ways to address integration challenges. 

John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: "Peterborough has a long and proud history of welcoming newcomers to our city, built up over generations. At the same time, we recognise some of the challenges the city and our public services have faced in managing the increase in more recent new arrival population growth.

"Despite this, and building on our history of successful integration, we recognise the positive effects of our work to build and maintain a cohesive city, of the impact and effectiveness of our relationships with our multi-faith and non-faith partners, and of the recognition we have gained of being a welcoming and tolerant city. Our ongoing Syrian Refugee resettlement programme is one example of this approach.

“We are delighted to have been chosen to actively participate in the Integrated Communities Strategy Work and I’m confident that this will give us the opportunity to not only showcase our own good work, but also to learn from national and international organisations to enhance our own efforts.”

Councillor Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council's Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “This programme will see Peterborough working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to pilot new ways of achieving genuine integration in support of the imminent publication of an Integrated CommunitiesGreen Paper.

 “It is an exciting time for the council and a fantastic opportunity for us to better understand what an inclusive city looks like and how it is achieved and maintained.

“In the meantime, we will continue to celebrate and promote the inclusivity and integration of our city. We all have roles to play in this, for example by supporting local community action and promoting opportunities to enhance community  cohesion and integration.”

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