A sense of belonging to the community helps to bring people together and overcome suspicions. People who feel that they belong to their local area will get involved with local schemes and initiatives, will help their neighbours, will challenge inappropriate behaviour and will welcome newcomers and help them settle. This document from Communities and Local Government offers suggestions for improving a sense of belonging.
Evidence Analysis has shown that a sense of belonging to the immediate neighbourhood is a key indicator of community cohesion. The Citizenship Survey 2007-08 found that 75 per cent of people nationally feel they belong strongly to their neighbourhood, including 34 per cent who said they belonged very strongly. The proportion of people who said they belonged strongly to their neighbourhood has increased since 2003 (70 per cent), but is unchanged from 2005. The widest variation is for people aged between 16 and 34 who are less likely than other adult age groups to feel a strong sense of belonging to their local neighbourhood.
The Cohesion Delivery Framework overview document sets out key principles for building cohesion which are relevant to all parts of the country. It describes the wider benefits to individuals, groups and communities, but recognizes that solutions are local and one size does not fit all. Improving cohesion is about multiple actions tackling a range of causal factors. It involves pursuing targeted actions and taking account of cohesion in the delivery of other services.
The Cohesion Delivery Framework is available from DCLG.