Local actions to promote social integration – Key lessons
by Professor Anthony Heath CBE FBA
While there exists a good body of evidence on social integration in the UK, little has been done previously to draw together evidence from different sources and provide local government, charities and other organisations with practical tools to help them to tackle issues that affect their communities.
This project aims to change that and draws on the expertise and evidence of academics and practitioners to suggest interventions which might be implemented at a local level to tackle some of the challenges faced by a diverse society, and thus promote social integration.
This publication summarises the key lessons of the project, which include:
- Social integration is a two-way process. The most successful interventions offer something back to the existing community, whether that be the opportunity to make friends from different backgrounds or to take part in something creative.
- Involving members of migrant communities in the design and implementation of projects is important. Many of the initiatives train local ‘champions’ to help them deliver their services and act as ambassadors in their communities.
- Local authorities provide more than funding. Local authorities celebrated by many of the featured interventions often hosted forums to bring people together and had a good understanding of the role of partner organisations. They were seen as a positive body to galvanise people, and foster two-way communication with local stakeholders.
- Confronting and resolving tensions is vital. Dealing with local grievances not only helps to dissolve tensions, but also prevents these from undermining any effective social integration work already going on.