Migrants often ignored in community decision-making

Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation press release

More needs to be done to enable new migrant communities to be heard and ensure resources are allocated openly and fairly. This is according to a report published today (25 June) by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The report, Community engagement and community cohesion, explored ways of helping new arrivals to the UK to get involved in their communities, and also looked at how to engage effectively with new migrants in ways that promote community cohesion, rather than increasing competition between new and more established communities.

The findings highlight the need for more joined-up policies at local and national level to get community involvement and community cohesion agendas working together effectively. There is growing concern over the increasing number of service providers and opportunities for user and community involvement, and the rate of change, making inclusive and effective community engagement more difficult. New arrivals find this all particularly confusing.

New communities also face practical barriers such as lack of information and personal barriers such as difficulties in the use of English. And they often have no formal community representation. The study found that groups particularly at risk of not having their views heard were new migrant workers from Eastern Europe, as well as refugees and asylum-seekers.

Marjorie Mayo, one of the report’s authors, said:

“Policies to involve communities urgently need to take more account of the growing diversity of Britain’s population. New arrivals do want to have the opportunity to have their voices heard too. Through working together with voluntary and community organisations and faith groups, service providers can find effective ways of reaching out to new communities. And this can be done in ways that promote social cohesion, rather than increasing competition between new arrivals and established communities.

“The good news is that the research has identified some really promising examples of positive work that is being done by local authorities, voluntary and community organisations and multi-faith groups in different parts of the country. The report provides practical examples of ways forward, taking account of the varying needs of different areas and communities.”
Notes to Editors

1. The full report and findings: Community engagement and community cohesion by Geraldine Blake, John Diamond, Jane Foot, Ben Gidley, Marjorie Mayo, Kalbir Shukra and Martin Yarnit from Goldsmiths, University of London, is available.
2. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is one of the largest social policy research and development charities in the UK. It supports a research and development programme that seeks to understand the causes of social difficulties and explore ways of overcoming them.

Issued by Charlotte Morris, JRF Senior Media Relations Manager: 01904 615 919 / 020 7278 9665 / charlotte.morris@jrf.org.uk

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