Effectively Integrating Minority Groups, Migrants and Refugees
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:
- Penny Hobman, Deputy Director, Integration, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
- Dr Carolyne Tah, Head of European Research and Evaluation Team, Analysis and Insight Unit, Home Office
- Francesca Megna, Senior Project Officer – Migrant Children Team, UN Migration Agency (IOM)
- Tim Tuckett, Team Leader, Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme, West Sussex County Council
- Councillor Irene Walsh, Cabinet Member for Communities, Peterborough City Council
- Jawaid Khan, Senior Lead Officer on Integration/Cohesion, Peterborough City Council
- Michelle Lawrence, Director, Link Up and The Great British Community and Trustee, The Cohesion and Integration Network
- Maureen Garratt Simpson, Board Member, Suffolk Libraries and Chair, Ipswich Library Friends Group
- Dr Andrea Wigfield, Director and Research Specialist, Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE), University of Sheffield and Evaluator, Time to Shine Project
- Councillor Garry Perry, Cabinet Lead for Leisure, Culture and Communities, Walsall Council
- Aloysius Ssali, CEO and Founder, Say It Loud Club
- Councillor Clare Coghill, Leader, Waltham Forest Council
- Kolbassia Haoussou, Survivors Speak OUT Co-Founder and Coordinator, Freedom From Torture
View the agenda and additional speakers
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 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 service
- Exploring how to effectively use the Integration Interactive Toolkit and Theory of Change Guidelines, alongside the Framework, to inform the development of programmes
- Highlighting how the Framework can complement local integration strategies
Dr Carolyne Tah, Head of European Research and Evaluation Team, Analysis and Insight Unit, Home Office (CONFIRMED)
Special Keynote: Pioneering Innovative Methods for Increasing Integration Across Local Communities
- Outlining the Government’s integration strategy and key areas of the February 2019 Integrated Communities Action Plan
- Taking a place-based approach through the Integration Areas programme to develop targeted integration strategies focusing on the specific challenges areas face, including around faith, language, education and employment
- Discussing the additional £10million funding allocated by the Chancellor to create a second wave of Integration Areas in 2020/21 focused on increasing support for English language provision
- Promoting closer collaboration with and between civil society organisations
- 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
Penny Hobman, Deputy Director, Integration, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) (CONFIRMED)
Case Study: Becoming an Integrated and Inclusive City
- Outlining the ways in which the Council, as a Local Integration Area, plans to design, test and review new ways of working to promote long term positive change in an area facing challenges related to recent rapid growth in migration
- Discussing the opportunities available through becoming a COMPAS-led Inclusive City, learning best practice in creating inclusive and welcome communities, from other cities in the UK and US who have experienced significant inward migration
- Summarising the ‘Think Communities’ approach to integration, and how plans for the four keys areas – Economic Opportunity, Bringing Communities Together, Young People and English Language – have been developed with partners from central government and voluntary and community groups
- Sharing examples of integration projects being resourced through the Peterborough Communities Fund, including sports clubs for children with different backgrounds and abilities, and targeted activities to connect people from a diverse range of countries over a similar interest
- Disseminating best practice from progress on the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program
Councillor Irene Walsh, Cabinet Member for Communities, Peterborough City Council (CONFIRMED)
Jawaid Khan, Senior Lead Officer on Integration/Cohesion, Peterborough City Council (CONFIRMED)
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: 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 (CONFIRMED)
Case Study: Working Together to Combat Prejudice, Intolerance and Discrimination
Looking at what the voluntary sector and community organisations can do to support integration
Exploring the approaches that Link Up (UK) takes, including the Family Tree project, education materials and myth busting quizzes
Discussing the development of the Cohesion and Integration Network, and how this can work to support and enhance local integration efforts
Highlighting the importance of a cross sectoral approach to addressing societies issues
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
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
Interactive Panel Discussion: Successfully Building Communities for Refugees and Asylum Seekers Fleeing Discrimination
- Discussing the journey to establishing the Say it Loud Club, and how the campaign to support LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seeks has further developed into network of over 200 members in the past 10 years
- Exploring the benefits of providing trauma-focused therapy and support to men, women, children and young people, as well as to families and couples, to support refuges in finding stability in their new home
- Collaborating the with other organisations, including Help Refugees, to secure more funding and increase the support available for refugees seeking legal representation to build a claim for asylum based on persecution
- Integrating new arrivals into communities across the UK through facilitating connections and friendships at events including workshops and networking events
- Sharing best practice in providing quality advocacy for people arriving in the UK having fled discrimination in their home country, and offering lessons learned for others seeking to offer such advocacy
Aloysius Ssali, CEO and Founder, Say It Loud Club (CONFIRMED)
Kolbassia Haoussou, Survivors Speak OUT Co-Founder and Coordinator, Freedom From Torture (CONFIRMED)
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 Andrea Wigfield, Director and Research Specialist, Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE), University of Sheffield and Evaluator, Time to Shine Project (CONFIRMED)
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
Maureen Garratt Simpson, Board Member, Suffolk Libraries and Chair, Ipswich Library Friends Group (CONFIRMED)
Case Study: What it Means to be an Integration Area
- Making it real for the whole of the population: Getting buy in from the settled population and widening the appeal to all groups across society
- Integration within a Resilient Communities Model: Seeking solutions from within communities, as the council moves to act as more of an enabler
- Local Political Involvement: Ensuring that politicians are not too closely involved in the Integration Area Partnership work, to ensure organic and successful efforts
- Promoting an evidence-based approach: Understanding how to make a real difference through integration efforts, with sustainable impact
Councillor Garry Perry, Cabinet Lead for Leisure, Culture and Communities, Walsall Council (CONFIRMED)
Questions and Answers Session
Chair’s Summary and Close
*Programme subject to change
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. In September 2019, as part of the Spending Review, a further £10 million of funding was announced for the provision of English for speakers of other languages (Esol) further education, through this programme.
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.
Michelle Lawrence, Director, Link Up and The Great British Community and Trustee, The Cohesion and Integration Network
Michelle is the founder and Chief Executive of Link Up (UK), a charity dedicated to combatting prejudice and overcoming divisions in society. Michelle started her career in marketing, before moving into the voluntary sector, initially running corporate and community giving for Centrepoint, then as a consultant; developing and implementing strategic and fundraising plans.
Since 2005, she has focused her attention on the subject of cohesion; covering interfaith and citizenship programmes that build bridges between different communities. In 2012 she set up Link Up (UK) to help overcome misconceptions and discrimination. Initiatives have included the Family Tree, myth busting quizzes, education materials – looking at belonging, identity and changing attitudes.
She is the co-founder and Trustee of the Cohesion and Integration Network, a cross sector model she developed to bring together, support and share the ideas, projects, research, knowledge and skills of the organisations and individuals working in the field of cohesion.
Dr Carolyne Tah, Head of European Research and Evaluation Team, Analysis and Insight Unit, Home Office
Dr Carolyne Tah is currently the head of the European Research and Evaluation team within the Home Office’s Analysis and Insight unit. She has led the evaluation of a number of key national programmes including the €370M UK Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) administered by the European Commission (EC), the UK Vulnerable Persons and Children resettlement schemes and the delivery of the UK European Migration Network national programme. Carolyne also led the UK Integration working group, drawn from seven academic and policy institutions across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, constituted to update the Home Office Indicators of Integration framework published this year.
Prior to joining the Home Office, she has worked in various capacities as Researcher, Lecturer, Policy Advisor, Single Regeneration Research Co-ordinator and Advisor to numerous refugee and asylum research projects.
Councillor Irene Walsh, Cabinet Member for Communities, Peterborough City Council
Born in the UK, and having lived and worked overseas for a venture capital company and as a teacher of ESOL, Irene brings a varied background and broad experience to her role of Cabinet Member for Communities at Peterborough City Council.
Irene was first elected to a Peterborough Ward in 2006. She has served on a number of committees, as Mayor, and for several years in her current role of Cabinet portfolio holder.
Irene’s brief is wide-ranging, however two very key elements are Community Safety and Cohesion. Peterborough, a Dispersal Area, has welcomed a significant number of migrants and refugees over the past few decades. This has brought energy and economic benefit to the city, but also integration challenges.
Irene is currently leading transformational work to reform the whole public sector’s approach to working with and alongside communities, to both improve long term outcomes for citizens and help reduce costs to the council.
Councillor Clare Coghill, Leader, Waltham Forest Council
Clare Coghill was elected to the London Borough of Waltham Forest in May 2010 to represent the High Street ward in Walthamstow. She has held a number of Cabinet roles, including for Children and Young People, and Economic Growth and High Streets.
Clare was elected Leader of the Council in May 2017 and was re-elected Leader of the Council for a 4 year term in May 2018.
Clare believes in the transformative power of culture to create opportunities and bring communities together. During her time as Leader, Waltham Forest was announced as the Mayor of London’s first ever London Borough of Culture. In June 2019, Waltham Forest Council was named ‘Local Authority of the Year’ at the prestigious Municipal Journal Awards.
Clare was born and raised in the West Midlands, and went on to study English Literature at the University of York, followed by a Master’s degree in English Literature and Translation at the University of Montpellier, in the south of France.
Kolbassia Haoussou, Survivors Speak OUT Co-Founder and Coordinator, Freedom From Torture
Kolbassia Haoussou is head of the UK’s only torture survivor-led activist network Survivors Speak OUT (SSO). Kolbassia co-founded the national network with charity Freedom from Torture, which has been facilitating the group since 2007. Its aims are to draw upon the first-hand experiences of torture survivors to deliver advocacy interventions on issues including bad practice in asylum decision-making, and raise public awareness of the challenges facing survivors trying to rebuild their lives in the UK.
As a Survivor Advocate and accomplished speaker, Kolbassia has addressed the UN General Assembly in New York, and in 2014, delivered a keynote speech alongside William Hague and Angelina Jolie at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. He currently sits on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative steering board at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and is a member of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security Advisory board.
Maureen Garratt Simpson, Board Member, Suffolk Libraries and Chair, Ipswich Library Friends Group
Ipswich County Library serves a very large and diverse population which also has pockets of significant poverty. 17.1% of the local population is made up of non-white British ethnicities and over 70 languages are spoken, making Ipswich one of the most diverse towns in the East of England.
The ‘Chat and Chill’ group session was initially set up to give Asian women living in Ipswich an opportunity to learn some English, socialise and make friends. The women who attended the first sessions were predominantly Bangladeshi but over time the diversity of the group has increased and now includes women from the Middle-East, South America, Africa and Eastern Europe.
The group’s main purpose is not to specifically teach English but to teach life skills and build confidence in carrying out daily tasks such as going to the bank, reading a utility bill and visiting the doctor. Chat and Chill not only helps those taking part to integrate with the local community and life in the UK, it helps to break down barriers and enables those taking part to learn more about each other’s cultures too.
Councillor Garry Perry, Cabinet Lead for Leisure, Culture and Communities, Walsall Council
Councillor Perry has been the driving force behind the Resilient Communities model being developed in Walsall. He is leading on a very challenging agenda which includes community safety, public protection, leisure and culture, partnerships, public engagement at a locality level and cohesion. He is driving forward a step change in delivery which is driven by radical thinking and a common sense approach. Councillor Perry was first elected to Walsall Council in 1998 representing Pelsall ward as the Council’s youngest ever member. He initially served on Housing and Licensing Committees and after two years became Chairman of the former Area District Planning Committee. Garry served as the Borough’s youngest Mayor from 2011/2012 raising a record amount of money for his chosen charities, he chaired the planning committee from 2012-2016 and as a previous portfolio holder he was re-appointed in 2018 to the Cabinet with portfolio responsibilities for Leisure and Communities including Chair of the Safer Walsall Partnerships and lead member for Integrated Communities.