Areas of work
Based in South Gloucestershire, the organisation works in established neighbourhoods such as Kingswood, Filton and Patchway and newer communities and developments such as Charlton Hayes, Lyde Green and the Filton airfield development.
This area is characterised by its diverse population, with a recent increase in the number of people from different backgrounds and faiths who call the area their home.
Of late, there has also been an increase in community tension and incidents of hate crime. Accordingly, South Gloucestershire Council sought out ways to boost levels of community cohesion. Recognising the roots SBCP has laid down across the area, the council asked the organisation to support them in the development of their latest community cohesion plan.
The document lays out plans for: a number of ‘safe space conversations’ targeting different sectors facilitated by community development workers; the coordination of a network of organisations and agencies with a role in community cohesion; and regular monitoring of hate crime data and community tensions to inform reactive activity.
In recent years, SBCP have run – and continue to run – a number of successful initiatives which demonstrate the role a community anchor organisation can play in building cohesive communities.
Their anti-hate crime ambassadors scheme is one such initiative. The ambassadors are located in secondary schools, and undergo training on discrimination and how to take action in their school and community.
The ambassadors become leaders in their school – on inclusion and prejudice based bullying issues – and help run community events celebrating diversity and challenging prejudice. The initiative was piloted in 2016, and in 2017 SBCP received Home Office funding to roll the scheme out to 12 schools across South Gloucestershire.
The council also provided funding to SBCP to lead on multi-faith work over the next three years. Several exciting projects are planned, including the co-design of programmes with the Muslim community aimed at helping people of other faiths and none to better ‘Understand Islam’.
The presence of community development workers in five of South Gloucestershire’s six ‘Priority Neighbourhoods’ – places where people don’t have the same opportunities as in other areas – is also part of SBCP’s approach to building cohesive communities.
They aim to build capacity and rebalance power in these communities, often through working with smaller, grassroots community organisations and commissioning them to deliver the community development offer in some of these areas.