Chilypep’s RUBIC(Respect and Understanding; Building Inclusive Communities) project has been celebrated by a new report published today by the British Academy.
Representatives from RUBIC attended the report’s launch at the House of Commons alongside The Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth and Chuka Umunna MP.
The “If you could do one thing…” Local actions to improve social integration looks report at a range of methods being implemented by community projects around the UK to improve social integration in local areas, drawing on evidence from practitioners, volunteers and members of the public.
RUBIC is a project working to enhance social cohesion in Sheffield. The partnership project between Chilypep, Mediation Sheffield (MESH), City of Sanctuary Sheffield, and Who Is Your Neighbour? has been funded by the Big Lottery to work in partnership with Parkwood Academy until 2020. The RUBIC project takes a holistic approach to improving integration and easing tensions surrounding social cohesion in Sheffield, using safe space dialogues, community mediation, awareness raising sessions, peer support and a young community leaders programme. The project focuses in the North of Sheffield, making connections between newly arrived migrants and more established residents in their own neighbourhoods, helping to increase understanding and create more resilient communities.
The British Academy report consists of a collection of essays on the social integration of both new and long settled communities, as well as case studies of various UK community projects that are focussed on the integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in their local area – including RUBIC based in Sheffield.
Laura Abbott, RUBIC Coordinator said:
“What makes this project so exciting is its’ holistic approach to social integration. Rather than delivering activities in silo, we have come together to combine a range of expertise and activities to truly empower communities and neighbourhoods. The project works with new arrivals, refugees and asylum seekers, but also host communities across all age ranges.
Focusing on and around Parkwood Academy we have developed a range of activities, including safe spaces where people can come to explore thoughts and perceptions about their neighbourhoods, community mediation and guardianship programmes, peer support and awareness raising work, support groups for newly arrived young people and unaccompanied asylum seeking young people, and social action projects that young people can engage in.
Ultimately we hope that we can use this resource to empower those we engage with to be able to have a voice and a say in all the issues that affect them and to influence the change they would like to see in their local areas. The idea of cohesion can often be superimposed onto a given community and we want to be led by those we are working with around what ‘cohesion’ looks like and what this means to them and be led by this.”
Chair of the British Academy project, Professor Anthony Heath CBE FBA said:
“It is often said that we live in a divided society, yet our research shows how small, local projects are already making difference to the lives of established and newly-arrived migrant communities across the UK.
“But it is clear that integration does not happen on its own. Social integration must be supported and planned, taking into account the diverse needs of specific communities and places.
“The Government’s forthcoming Integration Strategy must take account of the good work that is already going on. Only then can we build sustainable and cohesive communities, where people of all backgrounds are welcomed and supported.”
The Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government said:
“If you could do one thing…” provides practitioners, policy makers and communities invaluable and practical insights on how we can strengthen integration in local places drawing on our collective knowledge and practice.”
Commenting on the launch of the British Academy’s “If you could do one thing…” report, Chuka Umunna MP said:
“I welcome the publication of this report. We need a meaningful Integration Strategy which works for all parts of the UK to celebrate and look beyond our differences. However, integration is a two-way street requiring action on the part of newcomers and host communities.