Community Cohesion and Integration
The migrant population of Cheshire East has changed significantly over the last 10 years with increasing diversity and a number of migrants working and living in the area. The schools census (2017) shows that there are 102 languages spoken in Cheshire East, and the main areas of settlement are in Crewe, Macclesfield, Knutsford and Wilmslow.
In 2016 it was agreed to have a more focused approach to supporting services and communities to tackle barriers to integration and cohesion and accessing of services. Starting in the town of Crewe and working together with other agencies, schools and communities, a Crewe Community Action Plan (MS Excel, 334KB) was developed to address cohesion and integration issues. The main objectives and outcomes of the action plan are laid out in the table below.
| Key Objectives ||Goals |
|To improve our understanding of our communities and cultures
||We are better able to plan and provide services effectively
|Increase community engagement and capacity building
||Build trust and better working relationships with our communities.
Help identify social and cultural capital and be self sufficient
|Improve equality of service delivery by Cheshire East Council and partners
||Reduce barriers to service delivery through training of staff so they are better able to deliver services
|Strengthen the role of voluntary, community and faith sector organisations
||Increased capacity and support for all communities
|Support schools and Cheshire police to tackle hate crime and raise awareness among young people
||Increase reporting of hate crime and make young people aware of the reporting centres
|Support services to mitigate the impact of increased migration on service delivery
||Improve access to services and delivery
|Support newly arrived / newly settled individuals and families to integrate into local communities
||Reduce barriers to integration and settlement
|Improve communication and sharing of information with migrant communities
||Reduce barriers to accessing services and support, thereby improving health and well being outcomes for migrant communities
Community integration is about the ability of communities to function and grow together. This comes when we respect and appreciate the diverse nature of our communities, recognising that although individuals are different, they have a right to equality of treatment and access to services.
The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG, 2008) defines an integrated and cohesive community as one which built on three foundations:
- People from different backgrounds having similar life opportunities
- People knowing their rights and responsibilities
- People trusting one another and trusting local institutions to act fairly
And three ways of living together:
- A shared future and sense of belonging
- A focus on what new and existing communities have in common, alongside recognition of the value of diversity
- Strong and positive relationships between people from different backgrounds
As part of the cohesion work, our engagement with organisations and communities has included:
Crewe Community Cohesion project in Schools
As part of the Crewe community cohesion work, Cheshire East Council secured, £123, 000 from the Government’s Controlling Migration Fund to work with nine schools and one pre-school in Crewe to help alleviate the increased pressure on schools as a result of increased number of children and young people with English as an additional language. The funding has been used to deliver four programmes within the schools since January 2019.
- Bilingual Community Liaison officers are working with schools to actively engage with migrant families via a referral from the school, drop in sessions, information events.
- Homework clubs where extra support will be provided to children and young people who may be struggling.
- English classes are available for families, for further information please contact Cheshire East Lifelong Learning team
- School information packs translated into the five main minority languages in Cheshire East:
- Polish (PDF, 5,678KB)
- Portuguese (PDF, 5,650KB)
- Romanian (PDF, 5,648KB)
- Slovakian (PDF, 5,639KB)
- Bulgarian (PDF, 5,649KB)
As from May 2020, the Community Liaison officers will be permanent to Cheshire East Council, working collaboratively with the Community Development Officers, within the Communities Team, to strengthen partnerships within the migrant community, including health practitioners. For further information and advice on the Community Liaison Officers, please contact 01270 685444.
Multi-Faith Conference 2019
The Communities Team held a multi-faith conference as part of Inter Faith Week on 13th November 2019, at Holmes Chapel Community Centre, where more than 140 people attended.
The event was a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the incredible diversity and richness of faith communities within Cheshire East. All faiths came together to celebrate and share the contribution they make to help address loneliness and isolation in our communities. To view a series of images from the day, have a look on our YouTube channel.
The conference focused on a number of workshops where gaps in services across Cheshire East were identified. The first workshop was for people to highlight the issues of loneliness and isolation within their neighbourhood. The second workshop encouraged everyone to suggest their top three ideas to take forward as a shared outcome of the conference. You can view the full multi-faith conference report (PDF, 528KB)
You can also view the 2017 multi-faith conference report (PDF, 771KB), where the the Council worked with Crewe faith groups, to look at partnership working in tackling barriers to community integration and cohesion.
If you are part of the wind rush generation, or know of someone who has been affected by Home Office policies, you can find more information on how to get support and information on citizenship and residency on the Windrush Scheme.
If you are an EU migrant living and working in Cheshire East and you are concerned about your right to work and live in the country after we leave the European Union, also known as Brexit, you can find more information in the Settlement Scheme for EU citizens.
Community & Voluntary Services Cheshire East (CVS), in partnership with the Citizens Advice service in Cheshire East has received funding from the Home Office to deliver practical support for vulnerable EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to complete their EU Settlement Scheme applications.
• Providing advice on the evidence you need for ID and proof of residency
• Access to mobile and IT equipment to complete the application
• Referral onto specialist services if your case becomes more complex
• Translation services for those that need them
If you are an individual looking for support or an organisation referring an individual, please contact David Johnson, EU Settlement Coordinator on 01270 763100 or email David.firstname.lastname@example.org Mult-Faith Conference 2019 - Feedback Report - Final.docx