Twelve UK councils to publish Inclusive Cities Action Plans as part of Welcoming Week 2022

Published 16 September 2022 / By Denis Kierans

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The Inclusive Cities programme announces the forthcoming publication of its twelve members’ Action Plans – key documents produced by each city, outlining the actions they are taking to broaden opportunities for inclusion of all residents across the economic, social and civic life of the city, drawing on the key themes and principles outlined in the Inclusive Cities Framework. Action Plans also include a case study, highlighting a good practice or novel approach taken by the city.

As a founding member of Welcoming International, we have decided to announce the publication of these Action Plans and Case Studies as part of Welcoming Week, which “brings together neighbours of all backgrounds to build strong connections and affirm the importance of welcoming and inclusive places in achieving collective prosperity”.

Each city’s work will be published on the COMPAS website over the next two weeks. Links will be published to this blog post as they are made available. In the meantime, a selection of case studies are summarised below. These case studies were selected by the participating cities, demonstrating their approach to inclusion at the local level.

Belfast: At the start of 2022, individuals from Belfast’s many African Communities were preparing to celebrate the African Cup of Nations. The Council recognised the significance of this as a unique opportunity to connect communities, to celebrate African culture and to promote inclusion. Funding was provided to the Lower Ormeau Resident’s Group (LORAG), a local community and voluntary group, to coordinate a festival of sporting, culture, art, and music activities, during the Cup. Over a four-week period, a variety of sporting and cultural activities were used to engage communities from all ages and backgrounds. Interactive workshops exploring aspects of black history and heritage were organised, using poetry, music, food and sport to open conversations and to create meaningful contact. The end of the project also coincided with St. Patrick’s Day, offering another opportunity to link communities and share and explore culture and heritage.

Bristol: In response to the war in Ukraine and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, Bristol has created an innovative model of Welcome Hubs to ensure wrap-around community support for refugees arriving in the city. Each Welcome Hub will provide a programme of social events, a team of volunteers willing to provide low-level resettlement support and space for Council-commissioned programmes, such as English language and culture classes. 15 Hubs have been launched across the city, serving over 200 refugees per week.

Coventry: In October 2019, Coventry City Council hosted what is thought to be the UK’s first Citizenship Ceremony dedicated to children and young people, honouring Coventry’s newly registered British citizen children. In conjunction with partners, including Coventry England Law Centre, the inaugural ceremony proved extremely successful with positive feedback from the children and their families. Building on this success, the Council is planning a second Children’s Citizenship Ceremony in September 2022 and has committed to making this an annual event.

Glasgow: The Sighthill Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRA) is the biggest community regeneration project outside London. TRA asked the Council’s Centre for Civic Innovation (CCI) to help to find innovative ways to engage the community to name a new pedestrian bridge that is part of the wider regeneration. The CCI worked to identify local groups and places that could be used to encourage participation from locals. They visited the local school, church, community centre, arts and music community organisation and the pharmacy. They spoke at length with stakeholders, identifying language as a key barrier to full participation. Language needs were mapped and the services of a community based, not for profit translation service was used. Not only was this service able to translate materials, they worked with the team around the wording that was being used in the written materials. The planned engagement event was initially called a community lunch, however the team were made aware that that many speakers of the languages selected would be observing Ramadan. Based on this, the wording was changed to make it more inclusive, ensuring food was not the main focus. Over the course of 6 weeks, the CCI worked with the community intensively to gather as many views and suggestions as possible which have now been filtered down to 4 names.

Sheffield: The Council has been working with members of the Roma community to promote activities around Gypsy, Roma & Traveller History Month for the last 4 years. Each year, the events grew as the Roma community has gained confidence and skills. However, early activities were not widely noticed and mainly involved the same small group of people. In 2022, the Council changed their approach, supporting community leaders, Terezia Rostas and Rosa Cisneros, to hold events in mainstream locations such as museums and engage new participants and partners.

About the Inclusive Cities programme

Inclusive Cities is a knowledge exchange initiative supporting 12 UK cities and their local partners to achieve a step-change in their approach towards the inclusion of newcomers in the city. The programme is supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Participating cities are: Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newport, Newry, Mourne & Down and Sheffield.

For more information visit the programme’s webpage.