Community integration is about equal access to employment, housing and leisure. Without it we lose social and cultural aspects of community that provide enrichment to us all and a buffer against hatred, exclusion, isolation and loneliness.
B(fd)-As-1 is a new project, working in partnership with Bradford Metropolitan District Council. It has been tasked with helping communities and residents rediscover the uniqueness and wonder of difference. It will work alongside resident led community groups to break down the barriers that seek to fuel the ‘fear of the other’. Working in 3 distinct areas of Bradford, the project will support efforts to improve integration through the development of resident led groups.
Utilising asset-based methodologies that seek to underpin all that is positive within our communities. B(fd)-As-1 will be working to support communities and residents to identify the issues underpinning the lack of integration. It will partner with residents to design and deliver their own responses, recognising that community action works best when it is designed, directed and driven by those people living this reality.
Honest dialogue lies at the heart of change; for far too long people have been afraid to address issues around integration for fear of being labelled negatively. We dance around the issues without ever truly confronting what is going on. Whilst we can blame ‘the other’ we are excused from taking a long hard look at our own motives, are own preconceptions and our shared responsibilities. In order to address this the project will develop shared-safe spaces where residents can come together and begin to address all those elephants that are seemingly invisible.
These spaces will support residents to talk, challenge and confront the issues that seek to divide, without fear of accusation, blame or scapegoating.
B(fd)-As-1 believes that the time for tolerance has passed; if our communities are to thrive, if Bradford is to become the truly, multi-cultural city it can be, then tolerance must be replaced by acceptance, only then will we all be truly free of ‘fear of the other’.
Bradford has a long-standing tradition of welcoming people from across the world, all of whom have played their part in contributing to its history, heritage and cultural and economic life.
Bradford is a young, growing and modern district with all the complexities and opportunities that brings. Work is continuing with organisations across the city and district to support dialogue and to break down the barriers that exist between communities. Our challenges are not unique but our experience, expertise and desire to learn means that we are among the cities best placed to meet them.
Funding for the project has come from the MHCLG as part of the Integration Strategy when Bradford was selected as one of five integration areas. The Bradford Stronger Communities Partnership drives and oversees the Stronger Communities Together Strategy. Its purpose is to ensure that programmes delivered under this Strategy achieve the best outcomes for all people living in the Bradford District.
For more information on Bradford Council and Bradford For Everyone, visit their membership page on the website here.