The Home Office and the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit have launched a learning progamme to find effective ways to lower racial tension and bring community cohesion. Councils have been invited to propose projects for inclusion in the Community Cohesion Pathfinder Programme. The successful 15 bidders will receive a grant of 285,000 pounds for the period up to January 2005. The Programme aims to build real-life examples of areas that are getting community cohesion right. Findings from the projects, including what worked and what did not work, will be published to build up a body of learning about best practice. Emerging findings will be published as the projects progress.The successful bidders will have to demonstrate that they are committed to working in partnership with other local agencies and voluntary and community groups. They will also have to commit to mainstreaming community cohesion into all they do rather than treating it as an add on activity. The voluntary and community groups will share in the project funding.
A principal task of the projects will be to identify the key barriers to community cohesion and effective ways in which they can be brought down across areas such as housing, education and political leadership. It is also hoped to develop models for integrating community cohesion into the planning and delivery of services.
The Programme was designed to meet recommendations in recent reports addressing the issues of white and minority ethnic communities living, working and socializing completely separately and inequalities in education and employment.