A new £7 million fund to support trailblazing approaches to building more integrated communities in England was launched this week by Secretary of State for Communities Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.
The Integrated Communities Innovation Fund will help drive forward the proposals to tackle the key causes of poor integration set out in the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy green paper launched in March 2018.
The Secretary of State launched the fund while giving evidence to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee at Parliament at a session outlining his priorities as the Secretary of State for Communities.
The new Innovation Fund aims to support similar trailblazing projects that will share their learning more widely, allowing other areas to develop proven approaches to tackling the key causes of poor integration.
The government inviting applications to support approaches which help build integrated communities. This includes projects that use sport and physical activity to encourage integration. The government will be working in partnership with Sport England, which is contributing to the new Integrated Communities Innovation Fund, to support projects of this type.
The consultation on the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy green paper closed on 5 June 2018. Over 3,500 responses were received from a wide variety of organisations and individuals clearly demonstrating the widespread commitment to building stronger communities across the country. The government will respond to the consultation later this year.
Secretary of State for Communities Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said "Britain is on the whole a well integrated society, but we have been clear that we need to tackle the persistent challenges of integration in some communities across the country.
"The trailblazing projects supported by the fund announced today will drive forward our work to bring all levels of society together, from business leaders to grassroots charities, to tackle the key causes of poor integration."
Jennie Price, CEO of Sport England, said "I’m very pleased that Sport England is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to achieve our shared objective of improving integration to strengthen communities.
"We believe sport and physical activity is a powerful way of bringing together people from all backgrounds and strengthening the bonds between them."
The green paper sets out that organisations that work closely with communities must be bold and innovative in order to tackle some of the most difficult integration challenges and that knowledge of what works should be shared.