FaithAction response to the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper
FaithAction has responded to the consultation on the Government’s new integration strategy, based on our experience of delivering our Creative English programme. We very much see learning English as a first step in the process of integration, and we gave examples of Creative English ‘hubs’ where learners from many different backgrounds meet each other and develop friendships and a sense of community. We also pointed to the powerful role of volunteers in supporting integration, since it is in the relationships between individuals within the community that true integration is founded.
In our response, we highlighted how important faith communities are for integration: whether they are part of the ‘host community’ able to help support new arrivals, or whether they represent migrant communities, they are often able to reach some of the most marginalised groups in society. We also argued that faith is much more than just a risk factor linked to segregation, but that faith communities have much to offer when it comes to promoting integration – and that this should be recognised.
We were delighted that Creative English itself is recognised within the strategy (page 39) as one of the community-based English language programmes funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.