Belong has been undertaking research with the Intercultural Cities network (ICC) to explore how businesses can play a greater role in supporting cohesive communities and helping to build places with a strong sense of togetherness and belonging.
We believe that everyone has a part to play in building a more connected, less divided society. However, the role of business in this has been relatively under-explored until now.
During the pandemic, many businesses mobilised quickly to work with community groups, local government and others to support those who were most vulnerable. We should now build on this and start to think more systematically about the role that businesses can play in helping to build cohesive, resilient communities.
In an initial piece of research with ICC, we have worked with local government partners to put on three roundtable discussions with local authorities and a range of different businesses with a presence in their areas.
We asked them to consider what role businesses do, or could, play in:
- Developing fully inclusive, integrated workforces that fully reflect the communities in which they are based and help bring people from different backgrounds together;
- Helping support community life and build social infrastructure;
- Helping bring local communities closer together and bridge divides.
We also asked what more local authorities could do to support businesses in this.
We launched the findings from this research, setting out some guiding principles for how business and local government can work together to support social cohesion, in a webinar in March 2022, which is available to watch here.
We will also be publishing a number of examples of good practice that we came across in the course of our research, and plans for future work on business and cohesion, on this page.