Liverpool chosen for Inclusive Cities project 

Liverpool is one of five cities that will take part in an international project run by Oxford University aimed at helping new arrivals to integrate. 

The two-year programme – being run by the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity – looks to support cities to improve their approach to helping arrivals from abroad to settle.

It will draw on ideas and experience from within Europe and innovative approaches from cities in the United States as part of the highly acclaimed Welcoming America initiative.

A local taskforce will be set up by the end of 2017 to put together and implement an action plan to help make sure newcomers and their neighbours integrate.

Liverpool has been chosen because it has experienced significant migration over the last decade and has a diverse demographic and economic profile.

Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing, who will lead on the initiative, said: “Liverpool has a proud reputation dating back hundreds of years as a welcoming city and our population is growing at a rate we have not seen for many decades.

“We’re fortunate in that there is lots of regeneration happening in communities right across Liverpool, but that can cause challenges as some places have seen rapid changes their population.

“People understandably get nervous when they see the dynamics of their community changing, and in some parts of the city that has been considerable over the last decade or so.

“Our job is to work with others to help communities through that process, whether their new neighbours are students or others moving here from both home and abroad. The Inclusive Cities programme has the potential to help us become a leading city in doing that.”

It comes as the city council’s Cabinet has today approved the recommendations of a year-long look at community cohesion.

A panel of stakeholders including the community and voluntary sector, Merseyside Police, Mersey Fire and Rescue Service and education representative have spent a year looking at the issue.

They have made a series of recommendations aimed at breaking down barriers between people of different backgrounds, faiths and races in the city, and make it as open and inclusive as it can be.

They include:

• Creating a campaign to promote local people’s identity whatever their background,

• Continuous conversations with communities and encouraging people to come together to make a difference to their neighbourhoods

• Creating a sense of belonging to Liverpool• Providing leadership that challenges issues that create tension and seek to divide

Councillor Emily Spurrell, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said: “There is already lots of good work going on through organisations such as Merseyside Polonia, Asylum Link, our housing associations and the School of Sanctuary. What we want to do is help spread that wider and further and embed it throughout the city.

“We can’t be complacent because, although people in Liverpool voted to remain in the EU, the vote for Brexit and events such as the international migrant crisis and terrorist attacks all have the potential to caused cause anxiety, nervousness and suspicion.

“Like everywhere else, we have seen a rise in reported hate crime which is why it is so vital we work harder than ever to encourage cohesion, bust myths and promote and celebrate different cultures.”

The council is planning to submit a bid to the Government’s ‘Controlling Migration Fund’ to secure funding to deliver some of the Community Cohesion report recommendations.