Our long-term ambition is for well-integrated communities where everyone has good quality housing and plays a positive part in making Walsall a good place to live. Everyone understands their rights and responsibilities – hate crime is reduced, and people of different backgrounds live together in harmony.
This is closely linked to priority 1 – Connecting across communities. Living together is about creating and maintaining residential areas that support the needs of existing and new residents in a balanced way. It is also about creating conditions for people to socialise without concern for their safety, social or economic status, their disability or cultural background.
To achieve this ambition, we must ensure that early interventions, utilising assets in the community wherever possible, address the key issues and concerns identified at neighbourhood level.
What will we do?
We will provide new residents with practical information about their local area by means of a Welcome Pack and give them an opportunity to have a buddy. Our existing Walsall People Project gives us a unique opportunity to encourage new residents to sign up to local services and to get involved in the community. We will pilot the buddying approach with the Places of Welcome and those organisations that commit to the Walsall for All pledge.
We will work with the police to better support victims of hate crime. Our draft Multi-agency Hate Crime Strategy seeks to improve awareness of reporting options and ensure people feel safe in all areas of Walsall. Hate crime will be a topic for discussion at the new community dialogue events, allowing communities to raise concerns and have input. We will look at how we can bolster support for victims of hate crime in Walsall taking into account the numerous barriers people may face when going through these difficult experiences.
Walsall Council will use their forthcoming Housing Strategy to consider ways to reduce residential segregation, and better tackle rogue landlords which are impacting negatively on vulnerable new communities and increasing neighbourhood tensions.
Walsall Council will identify trusted individuals from the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities to ensure their needs are understood, and work to tackle negative perceptions and stereotypes held about these communities.
Housing Associations will share best practice on the co-design of future housing developments to meet residents’ needs and support them to come together as a community.
What does this mean for the people of Walsall?
Short term results:
New residents are informed about their rights, responsibilities and community activity – supporting them to be active citizens, build friendships, practice English and integrate into Walsall.
Measures that support integration and combat rogue landlords, are embedded within the forthcoming Housing Strategy.
An improved mechanism for reporting hate crimes leading to increased positive action against the perpetrators.
Hate crime victims are provided with improved support.
Increased understanding in Walsall of residents, council, elected leaders, police and other partnerships of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community lifestyles and reduced tensions and negativity towards them.
Long term results:
An increased confidence to report hate crimes and improved systems to do so.
New housing development design informed by the community throughout the planning process, leading to more integrated housing estates.
Greater acceptance towards Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities and enhanced service provision and policies that meet their needs.
A decrease in level of anti-social behaviour enabling improved integration and a stronger community.
A network of community buddies that can support people new to Walsall through signposting and support networks.