UPWEB PL Jenny Phillimore, together with Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska (Institute for Research into Superdiversity, University of Birmingham and researcher on UPWEB) and Sin Yi Cheung (Cardiff University and expert adviser on UPWEB) have contributed a report on Voluntary Action for Asylum Seeker and Refugee Integration to a British Academy Essay Collection on local actions to improve social integration. The publication was launched at the British House of Commons on 13 December. The UPWEB contribution introduces the Welcome Project at Handsworth ward, a superdiverse neighbourhood in Birmingham, which the authors came across doing field work for the UPWEB project:
“We selected the Welcome Project for both an UPWEB mini-ethnography and then as a chapter for this British Academy report because their approach – although small-scale – is simple, effective and cheap and could potentially be replicated anywhere, for any community and even scaled up if more resources were available. In combining personal relationships with local knowledge, the project is able to help individuals with complex problems and begin to address those difficulties in ways that are beyond the remit of state agencies many of which lack the time, expertise and resources to address complex needs in a superdiverse population. The Welcome Project to some extent fills the gap left by the absence of an integration programme for asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.” (p. 24)
About the Project
Chaired by British Academy Fellow, Anthony Heath CBE, the British Academy examined successful integration projects from around the UK; drawing lessons from clear evidence about methods which are proven to improve integration and result in long term cohesion in our society.
While there exists a good body of data on social integration in the UK, little has been done previously to draw together the evidence from different sources and provide local government, business leaders and charities with practical tools to help them to tackle issues that affect their communities; our project aims to change that.
10 Local Actions to Promote Social Integration
This report draws on the expertise and experience of academics and practitioners to suggest interventions which might be implemented at a local level by local councils, businesses or voluntary sector organisations to promote integration. Each essay offers a simple, practical, measure to improve social integration, with the understanding that local bodies have – and are likely to continue to have – constrained resources.