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:
Multi-Faith Conference, 2017
In November 2017, the Council worked with Crewe faith groups bringing together different services and diverse communities to look at partnership working in tackling barriers to community integration and cohesion. We heard quite emotional stories from some migrants on their experiences of living in Crewe which were very insightful. For more information you can view the full multi-faith conference report (PDF, 771KB).
Crewe Community Survey
A community survey was conducted with Crewe residents between September and November 2017. The objectives of the survey were:
- To explore residents’ understanding of ‘being part of a community’ and their experiences of community life in their local areas
- To identify challenges to integration and access to services in their local areas
The results of the survey showed that generally, participants felt that Crewe was an area that people from different backgrounds lived well together. However, they also raised issues that needed addressing in their neighbourhoods to improve community integration. For more information you can view the full Crewe community survey report (PDF, 1MB).
Housing, Communities and Local Government has developed a new Community Integration Strategy that you may find useful.
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.