The Mayor of London has a social integration strategy. It says
“Improving London’s social integration is one of the Mayor’s top priorities and he describes it as one of the 21st century’s biggest challenges. Improving social integration means helping Londoners to build meaningful and lasting relationships with each other.”
It’s common place for politicians to claim that they wish to bring people together, and to blame their opponents for being divisive. If only it were that easy.
There are powerful reasons that people do not build relationships with people from different backgrounds to themselves.
- One reason is that there are few occasions for people to build these relationships: public services, businesses and cultural activities are all often targeted to specific groups, rather than adopting a more universal approach.
- As importantly, the prospect of spending time with people from different backgrounds can make people feel anxious and negative experiences can exacerbate prejudices or stereotypes.
Social integration is not going to happen by itself. There needs to be a reason for people to meet and interact. The Peel’s Connected Communities programme is trying to develop these reasons. If you've got an idea for a project that would bring people together, let us know about it and we'll try and support you to make it a reality.