Community day to help cohesion in Sheffield

Roma Slovak residents meet members of the Pakistani Muslim Centre in Sheffield.
Roma Slovak residents meet members of the Pakistani Muslim Centre in Sheffield.
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A community day is to be held in Sheffield to help migrants try to integrate into Sheffield.

The event, to be hosted at the Pakistani Muslim Centre in Sheffield, is aimed at easing tensions when new communities settle in the city.

It was decided upon after a meeting with Roma Slovak residents, following a series of complaints in Darnall and around Page Hall, where large numbers of Roma Slovak nationals have settled over recent months.

Police officers have stepped up patrols in both areas after reports of large groups congregating on the streets, intimidating people.

There have also been reports of an increase in the dumping of rubbish, and a surge in anti-social behaviour, in both suburbs.

To try to improve relations, members of the Pakistani Muslim Centre on Woodbourn Road, Attercliffe, organised a meeting for new arrivals in the city to talk of their experiences and to agree an ‘action plan’ aimed at improving community cohesion.

The meeting and community day form part of a new Community Cohesion, Building Initiative launched by the Pakistani Muslim Centre.

Chairman Mohammed Ali said: “When Asian communities arrived in Sheffield many years ago times were different, there were lots of jobs for people, but it’s not like that these days. Hence you get lots of people congregating on street corners as a meeting place, because the new migrants claim there isn’t anywhere else for them to go.

“Our meeting was aimed at welcoming the new Roma Slovak community and explaining we successfully integrated and helping them to do the same by explaining the ways and values we adhere to.

“We spoke about how important it is for everyone to work together rather than in isolation.

“Tensions between the local residents and the economic migrants have recently reached boiling point. The past two months have witnessed an unprecedented number of public gatherings in which local residents have openly displayed the extent of their resentment towards the newly settled migrants.

“The Pakistan Muslim Centre believes the ‘Community Cohesion, Building Initiative’ will go a long way towards bridging the gap of misunderstanding that is currently so prevalent between the two communities.

“We pick up newspapers and find ourselves reading negative stories about the new EU arrivals on a daily basis.

“This concerns me greatly as certain areas, so far as community cohesion is concerned, have never been so fragmented.

“I believe the Community Cohesion, Building Initiative project will help the new arrivals to engage more constructively, and help achieve community harmony.”

To take part in the community day, where there will be games, live music and food stalls, call staff at the Pakistani Muslim Centre on 0114 2436091.