Programme Director: Jan Cromarty 
Chair: Barry Rowland 
Programme Manager: Mark Ellis

Key Issues:

We want to make sure that there are opportunities for people from different backgrounds to meet and interact with each other. We know that issues like rapid population change or disagreements over resource allocation can create challenges to community cohesion in some parts of the city. We want to address this by acting fairly and being seen to act fairly, by providing spaces and opportunities for meaningful interaction between groups, and by tackling tensions promptly and effectively when they do arise. We will foster a sense of pride in the city and the community by making our historic environment accessible to all, particularly during Heritage Open Days. Newcastle’s diverse population is celebrated through a number of annual events such as the Newcastle Mela, and Chinese New Year celebrations.

Newcastle’s population is becoming more diverse. The latest school census information shows that 18% of the school population in Newcastle are from BME backgrounds and 16% have a first language that is not English. We must ensure that services continue to evolve to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse city. We are committed to maintaining and improving good relationships between the people of Newcastle, in a manner which celebrates the contributions of people from richly diverse backgrounds and brings people together to enhance community cohesion.

Priority Targets:

  • People are included in their communities
  • People have fair and equal access to places, buildings, services and opportunities
  • (Newcastle is a resilient city)

Relevant Delivery Plans:

 Community Cohesion Strategy & Action Plan

Delivery of the Community Cohesion Strategy:

(Excerpt from the strategy)

Newcastle City Council’s first corporate community cohesion strategy seeks to:

  • Define the Council’s approach to cohesion and unify directorates and external partners around this approach
  • Demonstrate the importance of cohesion in the context of issues facing the city, and of national and local strategies and plans
  • Recognise existing work, and identify and address gaps

a) Definition

We propose the adoption of the Commission for Integration and Cohesion’s definition of a cohesive community. This definition recognises the importance of:

  • Shared vision
  • Individual rights and responsibilities
  • Equality
  • Trust in local institutions
  • Integration
  • Meaningful interaction between all sections of the community

b) Strategic context

 The strategy describes the background to community cohesion as a national policy issue. It also highlights the key local strategies and plans which already make reference to community cohesion. The purpose of this strategy is to link these references into a unified approach to cohesion across the local authority’s work.

c) Current activity

The full strategy includes examples of some of the wide range of projects and organisations contributing to cohesion across Newcastle.  Building up a complete picture of this activity will enable us to identify gaps or duplication and make our working more efficient.

d) Key issues and principles

 As part of demonstrating why Newcastle needs a community cohesion strategy, we highlight a number of the key issues facing the city, backed up with statistical data where relevant. These issues, as well as the steer given by national guidance and current local activity, inform a series of principles underlying our approach to cohesion in Newcastle.

e) Strategic Objectives

 In summary, the four objectives of the strategy are:

  • To improve the capacity of agencies to promote community cohesion in all that they do
  • To enable all communities to participate in the process of cohesion
  • To ensure the safety of all communities
  • To develop the Council’s role in communicating positive cohesion messages

f) Delivery and measurement

This section outlines key delivery challenges and the principles that will shape our approach to overcoming these challenges. It describes some of the tools and techniques that the Social Inclusion and Equality team will develop to support work on community cohesion, and identifies the partners within and beyond the Council who are already playing a key role in community cohesion, or who will need to be engaged in future. Finally, we outline the processes we will adopt for measuring cohesion and monitoring progress. This includes the drawing together of existing measures and performance indicators, and the development of new measures where relevant.

These sections are supported by an action plan outlining the types of action needed to achieve each of these objectives. The action plan will be subject to ongoing development and expansion, following input from partners, and in response to changes in the Newcastle cohesion context.