local government
voluntary sector

Effectively Integrating Minority Groups, Migrants and Refugees

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:45

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Central London

This Forum will provide an opportunity for participants to develop their strategies for the effective integration of migrant, minority and refugee groups in their localities, as outlined in the Integrated Communities Action Plan. Policymakers and sector leaders will provide updates on key funding opportunities including the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and Controlling Migration Fund. Best practice case studies will share details of successful cross-sector initiatives for utilising these funds to increase integration among refugee, minority and migrant communities, including through English language sessions, social activities and supporting access to key public sector services.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Voluntary Sector and Local Government. Typical titles will include:

  • Integration Managers
  • Migration Programme Managers
  • Heads of Communities
  • Heads of Community Integration
  • Community Development Managers
  • Community Safety Project Officers
  • Equal Opportunities Officers
  • Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Practitioners
  • Campaign Organisers
  • Children and Youth Service Leaders
  • Social Workers
  • Social Services Officers
  • Local Education Welfare Officers
  • NGO Leaders
  • Academics and Researchers
  • Migrant Training Managers
  • Recruitment Professional
  • Housing Engagement Officers

The Forum is also open to the Education and Housing Sectors and Central Government to encourage discussion and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Senior Representative, Communities and Migration, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • Senior Representative, Home Office 
  • Francesca Megna, Senior Project Officer – Migrant Children Team, UN Migration Agency (IOM)
  • Mark Winterburn, Principal Policy and Project Officer, London Councils
  • Tim Tuckett, Team Leader, Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme, West Sussex County Council
  • Michelle Lawrence, Director, Link Up and The Great British Community and Trustee, The Cohesion and Integration Network
View the agenda and additional speakers

With around 1,700 immigrants arriving in the UK each day, planning to stay for at least a year, and 627,000 people having moved to the UK in 2018, there is a significant need for consistent ongoing community integration efforts across the country. Furthermore, as the government has committed to resettling 5,000 refugees under a new scheme, with 16,000 having already found safety in the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, it is vital that refugees feel at home with active efforts being made to integrate them into local communities.

In July 2019, £28 million of funding was announced by the government for local authorities, to help ease the pressures of migration. The funds will be allocated to 123 projects across England. This brings the total amount allocated through the Controlling Migration Fund to over £100 million.

This follows a number of schemes and funding opportunities for local authorities introduced in recent years. In addition to the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, programmes run through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) seek to build capacity of asylum procedures and establish best practice, as well as fund integration processes for new arrivals.

The February 2019 Integrated Communities Action Plan outlines how community leaders will be supported to improve access to English language learning, and ultimately improve the infrastructure needed for minority, migrant and refugees to fully integrate and thrive in the UK. Through the Integration Area Programme, five local authorities, with different types of integration challenges, have developed individual area strategies to improve integration across all areas including education, employment and access to public services.

The second edition of the Home Office Indicators of Integration Framework, published in 2019, provides practical methods for designing, monitoring and measuring the impact of integration strategies, offering advice on how to best support refugees and migrants. This resource can be used by local authorities, charities, and those working with groups in society at risk of poor integration.

It is crucial therefore that all stakeholders working on the integration of refugee, migrant and minority groups ensure they are following the latest government guidance and effectively utilising funding and other methods of support to develop socially cohesive communities across the UK.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Michelle Lawrence, Director, Link Up and The Great British Community and Trustee, The Cohesion and Integration Network (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Successfully Funding and Measuring the Impact of Sustainable Integration Initiatives

  • Summarising the updates of the second edition of the Home Office’s Indicators of Integration Framework 2019
  • Discussing how the Framework can be used by integration practitioners as a resource for planning, monitoring and measuring, and improving integration services
  • Exploring how to effectively use the Integration Interactive Toolkit and Theory of Change Guides, alongside the Framework, to inform the development of programmes
  • Highlighting how the Framework can complement local integration strategies

Senior Representative, UK Home Office (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Pioneering Innovative Methods for Increasing Integration Across Local Communities

  • Outlining the key areas of the February 2019 Integrated Communities Action Plan
  • Promoting closer collaboration with and between civil society organisations, as well as an increased place-based approach through supporting the five Integration Areas
  • Working with these five local authorities to develop targeted integration strategies focusing on the specific challenges they face, including around faith, language, education and employment
  • Sharing updates on the Controlling Migration Fund to promote integration and ease pressures on housing, education and health services as a result of increased migration in certain areas

Senior Representative, Communities and Migration, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Promoting Integration Across a Local Authority

  • Working with the MHCLG to become one of five pioneer local authorities on the Integration Area Programme, creating a strategy based on qualitative data to improve employment, social mixing, education and perceptions of the other
  • Discussing ways to effectively engage with local employers to enhance recruitment practices and actively promote diversity in the workforce, while working in the community to improve employability skills including around language and literacy
  • Exploring how education admission policies impact on integration with a view to tackle poor practices, and continuing to promote cohesion through the successful Linking Network which creates connections between children at different schools
  • Sharing lessons learned from tackling hate crime in collaboration with local voluntary and community organisations, and working with the police to ensure a robust criminal law response to all hate crime

Councillor Abdul Jabar, Portfolio Holder – Neighbourhoods & Community Safety, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Supporting the Integration of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in the UK

  • Summarising the key areas of the EU-funded Fostering Across Borders (FAB) project which aims to enhance family-based care (FBC) for unaccompanied migrant children (UMC) in the UK
  • Understanding the benefits of placing UMCs with foster families rather than in large scale residential care facilities, and the impact this can have on a sense of integration at an earlier age
  • Sharing best practice from developing and delivering training to frontline professionals on how to effectively support UMCs, and exploring ways of funding this
  • Discussing how local authorities and voluntary organisations working in the UK can learn from transnational collaboration efforts around children’s rights, taking lessons and best practice to develop integration strategies for UMCs

Francesca Megna, Senior Project Officer – Migrant Children Team, UN Migration Agency (IOM) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Successfully Gaining Funding to Support Migrant Integration Through Education

  • Sharing advice from successfully bidding for funding from the Controlling Migration Fund to improve school-based services and support in light of an increase of asylum seekers and economic migrants in the local area
  • Understanding the challenges posed by this demographic shift and the impact these have on integration, in particular adults and children arriving with little or no English language skills, and high levels of transience amongst pupils
  • Discussing the range of ways funding has been utilised, including to recruit additional teachers and teaching assistants to closely support new pupils, as well as delivering community learning to the wider family
  • Developing and delivering specialist play therapy training for school staff to effectively support children arriving who are suffering trauma due to past experiences

Councillor Barrie Cooper, Executive Member for Children’s Services, Middlesbrough Council (invited)


Case Study: An Integration Area Approach to Facilitating Community Cohesion for New Arrivals

  • Outlining the process of becoming one of the government’s five new Integration Areas, with a view to helping understand and address local challenges, building on existing best practice and local strengths
  • Summarising the key themes of the council’s Connecting Communities strategy, including a borough wide communications campaign, new cross-sector Community Networks, and facilitating peer-to-peer support programmes, aiming to reach 50,000 people
  • Discussing the role that becoming London’s first Borough of Culture in 2019 is having on increasing integration among new arrivals and wider communities, bringing together 1000 people as ‘Legends of the Forest’
  • Creating a new offer for new arrivals that includes a welcome pack to the borough, creating a meals and food model to connect new and existing residents, and connecting them with the Friends and Neighbours Network (FAN) to encourage integration through learning and social opportunities, including around developing English language skills

Councillor Clare Coghill, Leader, Waltham Forest Council (invited)


Case Study: Working Together to Combat Prejudice, Intolerance and Discrimination

  • Encouraging local communities to consider the benefits of diversity in their areas through the Family Tree project which brings together stories from schools, individuals, businesses and social groups to challenge stereotypes
  • Providing education resources for schools to build discussion around integration into PSHE and English lessons, and how to challenge perceptions learned through media and family
  • Outlining the ‘Racism 12 Step Recovery Programme’ which aims to support people in changing perceptions and overcoming bigotry
  • Promoting resources developed and shared through COIN including on how to ensure positive messaging around diversity and proven activities to enhance local integration efforts

Michelle Lawrence, Director, Link Up and The Great British Community and Trustee, The Cohesion and Integration Network (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: The APPG Approach to Promoting Integration

  • Outlining the key findings and recommendations from the 2017 Integration not Demonisation report, and efforts made since then to address and tackle anti-immigrant rhetoric and xenophobia
  • Reflecting on the nuances around integration issues for different demographics among refugee, migrant and minority communities
  • Exploring how requiring newcomers to the UK to partake in community or voluntary work has the potential to increase a sense of integration at an earlier stage
  • Highlighting the need for a wider roll out of English language lessons, supported by local leaders, to ensure key services and information are more accessible to all citizens and encourage integration, as well as ensuring they are available in a variety of languages

Holly Lynch MP, Vice Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration (invited)


Special Keynote: Supporting the Resettlement of Refugees Across the City

  • Outlining the range of UNHCR programmes that London Councils are engaged with, including around resettling Vulnerable Persons and Children, and Gateway, for those livening in a protracted refugee situation
  • Considering methods for funding the additional cost of refugee resettlement for local councils, such as using Discretionary Housing Payments, which have helped the resettlement of 800 Syrian refuges in London so far
  • Encouraging community groups to seek support from their local authority to become part of the government’s Community Sponsorship Scheme, with a more formal involvement in resettling refugees and access to funding opportunities
  • Understanding the process for the 5,630 asylum seekers in London to access refugee status, and discussing how to provide both groups with vital local authority services such as adult social care and adequate accommodation

Mark Winterburn, Principal Policy and Project Officer, London Councils (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Taking a Collaborative Approach to Integrating Syrian Refugees Across a Local Authority

  • Partnering with district and borough councils, CCGs, the police force and voluntary groups to offer places for 60 families or 240 people from Syria, over the course of the parliament
  • Accessing resources from the government’s International Development Fund to provide caseworkers, housing, social care, health, education and specific integration support, based on individual and family needs
  • Allocating a Keyworker for each family for the first three months of their arrival, allocated from the Integrated Prevention and Earliest Help service, to help them access public services, benefits and English language sessions
  • Discussing how voluntary groups effectively takeover the support role from the Keyworkers, after the initial three months, to continue integration support
  • Highlighting the wider role the voluntary sector plays in supporting the local authority to deliver formal English language learning, and one-to-one support to develop conversational skills, as well as training and life skills, as part of the integration process

Tim Tuckett, Team Leader, Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme, West Sussex County Council (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Engaging Older Minority Neighbours in Community Activities

  • Understanding the contribution that cultural factors can have in feelings of isolation and loneliness among some Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, and the consequent need to offer opportunities for community peers to gather together around activities that are of interest
  • Outlining the key components of the Age UK-led Time to Shine programme, working across Leeds to deliver integration projects targeted at older people from Indian, Chinese and Irish backgrounds, and training others in the community on how to support people in these groups at risk of isolation
  • Discussing best practice around accessing funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better Initiative, including how to demonstrate the inclusiveness and cultural appropriateness of programmes delivered with the funding, such as by recruiting bilingual volunteers
  • Sharing lessons from the Time to Shine project, as evaluated by Care-Connect, including factors that hinder integration activities, such as families’ views and opinions, and language barriers, and discussing next steps in overcoming these

Dr Sarah Alden, Research Associate, Care-Connect, University of Sheffield (invited)

Senior Representative, Age UK (invited)


Case Study: Effectively Improving Social Integration and English Language Skills for Minority Groups

  • Summarising the Chat and Chill programme, nominated for a national Libraries Change Lives Award, which continues to integrate women from diverse backgrounds in the community, making adaptations from learnings over the past 10 years
  • Improving integration across Suffolk through English lessons held as part of the programme, which have helped more people partake in community activities and gain confidence to learn new skills
  • Discussing some of the key areas of learning that also take place through the service, including around banking, reading utility bills, and visiting a GP
  • Encouraging women to bring small children to Chat and Chill sessions, to facilitate community integration from a younger age and also allow for flexibility where childcare is not an option, broadening the number of women able to attend

Marion Harvey, Manager, Ipswich County Library (invited)


Case Study: Tackling Homelessness Among Minority Groups

  • Outlining the key reasons for homelessness among black and minority ethnic groups including financial difficulties and unemployment, overcrowding, and family breakdown
  • Discussing the need to address discriminatory policies around social housing allocations for asylum seeks, refugees and BAME women escaping domestic violence to better support those in need
  • Sharing best practice in ensuring accessible services for minority groups including by disseminating useful information in a timely manner in various languages through community groups, medical and job centres
  • Taking a Housing First approach to better meet the intersectional needs of BAME groups, ensuring the provision of safe and adequate housing in addition to wider support services to prevent a cycle of homelessness

Shirley Springer, Chief Executive, Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau and Trustee, One Westminster (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

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