A summary of our response...

Oliver Lee, CEO of The Challenge, said: “We welcome this strategy, which serves as an acknowledgement from the Government that social integration is central to creating more connected communities. It also demonstrates that our mission and vision have gathered support at the very highest level and proves what we’ve been saying all along - that meaningful mixing really does matter. To view the full response, click here

“As a leading authority on social integration - and with our design principles at the heart of this green paper - our response is an ideal opportunity to influence the strategic direction the Government takes on this important issue.

“I look forward to seeing what the Government’s next steps are and hope that we can develop a robust strategy together, and continue our work to bring together people from all backgrounds.”

Some of the points from The Challenge response include recommendations that:

  • The Government ensures its definition of ‘social integration’ is adopted by local authorities and civil society organisations, which will deliver activities that bring the strategy to life.
  • The definition should cover a range of differences that people have, such as age, politics, gender and social class as well as the Government’s current focus on bridging divides between people of different ethnicities and faiths.
  • Work to bring people together from all backgrounds must be done at a grassroots level - and tailored to local needs - to have an impact on a national level.
  • The Government takes a methodical, evidence-based approach to creating meaningful mixing experiences between people of all age groups, not just young people. This could be done by revitalising community centres and libraries, for example, by reconfiguring their services and looking more at the role they play in their communities.
  • As many young people as possible should have the opportunity to take part in youth social action programmes, such as National Citizen Service, to meet, mix and connect with other young people from different backgrounds.
  • The Government’s ambition to expand NCS so that all young people can participate in the programme - no matter what their circumstance - must be matched with targeted resources.
  • Employers need to take on a more responsible role not only in employing, promoting and valuing a diverse workforce but also in ensuring that work environments are spaces where colleagues from different walks of life have real and meaningful contact.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is expected to respond to the consultation by the end of the summer and reveal the next steps for the strategy.