Connecting Across Communities
Our long-term ambition is for Walsall to be a vibrant and diverse place where people come together around what they have in common and form meaningful friendships.
We want Walsall to become a place where acceptance, understanding and respect replace any prejudice and intolerance, and everyone feels a shared sense of belonging.
We must increase the opportunities for people from different communities and parts of the borough to meet and mix – through events, shared hobbies, sports, art, sharing food or interfaith work. This will allow people to connect with others and recognise we have more in common than divides us. It will help break down existing barriers, challenge myths and allow friendships to form.
We recognise that people are often not given the time or space to discuss and explore views around difficult and emotive topics such as racism, religion, migration – and we will increase the opportunity to do so.
What will we do?
We will launch a new Walsall for All fund that will support innovative approaches to supporting integration in Walsall. Local community and voluntary sector organisations will be able to bid for up to £10,000 for projects that fulfil the following criteria:
Creating opportunities for meaningful social mixing. Emphasis will be on inclusivity and bringing together people from a range of different socio-economic, age, cultural, religious and lifestyle characteristics.
Exploring social attitudes and promoting positive change in changing perceptions.
Developing digital solutions to support integration.
We will develop a Walsall for All pledge encouraging groups and providers to sign up to promoting values and principles about inclusivity and integration. We will also support expansion of the successful ‘Places of Welcome’ scheme in the areas already identified as a growing risk of social isolation or prejudice.
We will ensure there is greater engagement with and between faith communities. We will improve coordination between our existing interfaith activities and organise a new ‘Integration Through Faith Conference’ with the aim of adopting a ‘Faith Covenant for Walsall.’
During 2019 and 2020 we will hold Community Dialogue sessions across Walsall – creating safe spaces for people to have honest discussions about integration and changing neighbourhoods. We want people to be able to ask difficult questions, share views, raise concerns and debate issues to better understand each other’s views and beliefs – and
tackle divisions and misconceptions.
We will support more opportunities for collaboration across the borough through better coordination and linking of existing groups, activities and events across Walsall.
What does this mean for the people of Walsall?
Short term results:
New innovative activities promoting integration and funded through the ‘Walsall for All’ fund.
More opportunities for Walsall people to meet and mix across geographic, ethnic, faith and economic boundaries – improving awareness and take up by local people.
Creation of a Walsall for All pledge to which community, voluntary and faith groups can sign up, increasing understanding of the importance of inclusivity and integration, and the role they can play in achieving this.
Following the ‘Integration Through Faith’ conference, there is increased interfaith work with greater participation levels – and people are signing up to the ‘Faith Covenant.’
Walsall people are participating in ‘Community Dialogue’ events, starting to raise concerns and shift negative perceptions of others.
Long term results:
People are freely meeting and mixing with others and building more diverse networks
across the borough.
There are truly diverse and inclusive groups across Walsall, where all people are welcomed and have a voice – and where integration aims are embedded in core work.
There is increased tolerance, mutual respect, and understanding between different communities in Walsall, and reduced fear and prejudice of others using interfaith activity.
Walsall is a welcoming and open place where people are comfortable to visit or live, work or learn in any part of the borough.