Community Cohesion: Sheffield communities need help to live side by side

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall

More work needs to be done to help different Sheffield communities live side by side – and council bosses admit change can be unsettling for people.

These are the findings of a wide ranging new report by Sheffield Council, which has spent the past three years working on a Community Cohesion strategy for the city. This is part of a series of stories looking at this strategy.

Angela Greenwood, community services manager at Sheffield Council, says in a report: “Becoming more cohesive, inclusive and fair in a constantly changing city is a challenge but to reach that ambition, we have to stand up for the values and norms which make Sheffield the place it is.

“Community cohesion requires building and maintaining good relationships with neighbours and colleagues across the city in neighbourhoods, working with and supporting communities.

“Cohesion can be measured by how well people get on or don’t with each other. Improving it involves working with individuals and groups to find common ground and tolerance in a constantly changing city.”

But the report warns uniting the city will not be easy. “Cohesion does not happen overnight. In a fast moving, changing environment, we have to support all our communities with the tools and foundations from which to get on well for the longer term.

“This means helping all people, existing and new residents, to integrate quickly by ensuring people know and understand how to get on in the city.

“We also have to support and celebrate the fact that Sheffield is a growing, vibrant and diverse place.”

Ms Greenwood says Sheffield must carry on doing what it does best: growing and changing, innovating and making.

But she adds: “Change can be unsettling, particularly where it has a direct impact on people’s lives, communities and where people feel distant from the change that is happening.

“We want Sheffield to be an inclusive city where existing, new and future residents are part of the life of the city. We also want to get better at listening to those who feel ignored or left out.

“We live in a changing city and our approaches to integration and cohesion need to keep pace with the changing needs of the city.

“We need to continuously respond to the changing needs of our service users to meet the increasingly diverse needs of people. This starts by ensuring we know who those people are, in the present and for the future.”

The council worked with voluntary, community and faith organisations on the new strategy and the result was an in-depth report called Sheffield Together: The Sheffield Cohesion Framework.

The full report can be read here:

http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/documents/s32561/Cohesion%20Charter%20Report.pdf