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Communities Secretary Hazel Blears today welcomed the launch of a new dedicated website giving expert help and guidance on creating strong, cohesive communities.
The new interactive website, developed by the Institute of Community Cohesion (ICoCo), brings together in one place a range of practical advice and support on how to promote cohesion and integration drawing on good practice case studies from across the country.
Aimed at practitioners, policy-makers and other organisations from a whole range of sectors, the website will provide a continuously updated bank of cohesion resources, including toolkits, links and briefings on key issues.
Community Cohesion is what must happen in all communities to enable different groups of people to get on well together. Latest data from the national citizenship survey shows that cohesion levels in England are extremely high with 84 percent of respondents agreeing that their local area is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together.
The website, which is supported by Communities and Local Government, complements the Government's commitment to provide practical support to local authorities and their partners in the public and private and voluntary sector that will enable them to create communities where people want to live and can play a full part. It builds on a wide programme of work taken forward by Government following recommendations made by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion in their report 'Our Shared Future' and will underpin the Cohesion Delivery Framework overview document launched by the Government in the summer.
Hazel Blears said:
"We know that local responses are the key when it comes to maintaining and building strong, resilient communities. Different areas of the country are experiencing different challenges and finding the solutions that work for them.
The result is a wealth of evidence around how best to encourage people to get involved in their local area, meet and share experiences with different people, manage migration and overcome challenges and tensions.
"This website will mean that more people can access and learn from that experience and knowledge, share ideas and get the resources and support they need."
iCoCo Executive Chair, Ted Cantle said:
"For the first time ever, we have brought together in one place a collection of good practice, guidance, toolkits, research and policy papers. Anyone with an interest in cohesion will be able to find all the information they need under one virtual roof."
"We also hope to encourage informal practitioner development through the provision of opportunities for information exchange, problem solving and discussion through the development and maintenance of online communities, building on our existing network of over 300 cohesion practitioners from across the public, private and voluntary sectors."
Today's launch unveils the first stage of the web portal. It is accompanied by a bank of cohesion materials that are supported by a sophisticated search facility that will allow users to access the growing good practice database and resource library. Further stages will follow including forums for users to have private and shared discussions and pages to share information.
Notes to editors
1. The new ICoCo portal is a free interactive, searchable resource guide aimed at practitioners and policy-makers with an interest in cohesion. The portal will be constantly updated and expanded to offer improved services in the months to come. It can be accessed at http://www.cohesioninstitute.org.uk
2. The portal is being supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government and builds on the wider package of practical support that the Government has put in place in response to recommendations made by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion. This includes £50m made available to support local authorities in responding to cohesion challenges, the creation of cohesion support teams to help those areas experiencing particularly rapid change, a new cohesion delivery framework and new guidance on translation emphasising the importance of learning English.
3. The Institute of Community Cohesion was established as an independent body in 2005 to provide a new approach to race, diversity and multiculturalism. Its work focuses on building positive and harmonious community relations, using applied research to constantly develop practice and to build capacity of all the agencies and individuals involved.
4. Further information and guidance on community cohesion can be found at http://www.communities.gov.uk/communities/racecohesionfaith/communitycohesion/cohesionpublications/
5. For more details on iCoCo, please contact: Nick Johnson, Director of Policy, iCoCo firstname.lastname@example.org
6. For further information on the portal, please contact: Jenny Page, Information and Communications Manager, iCoCo. email@example.com 024 7679 5763
Media Enquiries: 020 7944 8033
News Releases: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news room
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