Headlines: October 17th, 2008

A website has been launched to help professionals and policy makers to create stronger and more cohesive communities. The interactive site has been developed by the Institute of Community Cohesion – iCoCo and is designed to bring together practical advice on ways to promote cohesion and integration and to draw on good practice case studies from across the country.

The site is aimed at practitioners, policy-makers and staff from organisations from a whole range of sectors. It will be continuously updated to provide a bank of cohesion resources, including toolkits, links and briefings on key issues. Latest data from the National Citizenship Survey shows that cohesion levels in England are already high. Eighty-four percent of respondents agreed that their local areas were places where people from different backgrounds got on well together.

The site is supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government and is designed to build on work already underway following recommendations made by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion.
The Executive Chair of iCoCo, Ted Cantle said the site meant that for the first time a collection of good practice, guidance, toolkits, research and policy papers could be found in one place. He added, “We also hope to encourage informal practitioner development through the provision of opportunities for information exchange, problem solving and discussion through the development and maintenance of online communities, building on our existing network of over 300 cohesion practitioners from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.”

The website is the first stage of a portal and it is accompanied by a range of material supported by a sophisticated search facility. Further developments will include forums for users to have private and shared discussions and pages to share information. It can be accessed at http://www.cohesioninstitute.org.uk