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 Community cohesion: A new framework for race and diversity

CymunedolRegeneration practitioners must work harder to bring communities together rather than simply trying to avoid conflict, the UK’s leading expert on community cohesion has warned.

Ted Cantle, an associate director of the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), the chair of the government’s community cohesion review team said - ‘Our model of multiculturalism has been one of respecting difference which has translated into one of keeping your distance. We haven’t managed to promote commonality between groups.’

In his report for the Home Office on the 2001 riots he found communities in Burnley, Bradford and Oldham led what he called ’parallel lives’ with very little interaction.

People should be strongly encouraged to learn English so that they can participate more fully in democracy, said Mr Cantle, although he shied way from making this compulsory.

And he argued for greater distance between community politics and community leaders. ‘We have tended to focus on building community leaders to represent different groups and that has militated against people being involved themselves in the political sphere. We have created community leaders who are probably unrepresentative,’ he said.

Mwy...More...

Four years on from his groundbreaking report into government policy following England’s race riots, Ted Cantle believes there are still fundamental problems in the sector’s approach.

Now an associate director of the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), the chair of the government’s community cohesion review team said this was compounded by a shortage of specialist skills.

He told New Start: ‘There’s too much emphasis on avoiding problems of different communities being in competition with each other and not enough emphasis on how to use regeneration to build a bridge between different communities and something that can transform social relations in that area.’

This week saw the launch of his new book Community cohesion: A new framework for race and diversity.

In it he calls for a new model of race relations that encourages integration in key areas like the economy and politics, but allows a degree of cultural separation so communities can maintain their heritage.

The newly created Institute of Community Cohesion, led by Mr Cantle, will begin offering courses next month based at the De Montfort universities in Coventry, Warwick and Leicester. It will research and test new models of community cohesion.

Jon Ladd, chief executive of the British Urban Regeneration Association, said he agreed some practitioners needed greater training on bringing communities together. ‘There are some people who do this exceptionally well and some who do not and usually that is because they have not got the training or experience. We have to get out of the mentality that conflict means defeat.’

Community cohesion: A new framework for race and diversity, Palgrave Macmillan, £45.

Source- Newstart



 
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