Community hits back at BBC Panorama programme

Published Monday 22 January 2018 at 21:22

People across Blackburn and Darwen have spoken out following a BBC documentary focusing on racial segregation.

BBC’s Panorama re-visited their documentary, most recently titled ‘White Fright’ which was broadcast 10 years ago with another similar programme.

Many groups and organisations in the area decided not to contribute because of concerns over lack of balance.

I’m very disappointed with the programme; once again we’ve had people coming to our town telling us that we have a problem. They were clearly not interested in showing any of the many opportunities people have to mix or to get a deep understanding of our town and the massive improvements

explained Councillor Mohammed Khan, the leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Blackburn with Darwen is finalising a written approach to social integration working alongside all the many groups, organisations and businesses who play their part in making Blackburn and Darwen successful places. The approach has already been endorsed by the Government.

The strategy addresses segregation of communities, where they live and also people have a choice where to send their children to school. It has three strands, focusing on:

  • Linking up opportunities to see people in all communities get the best start in life
  • Encouraging understanding and respect
  • Growth of our economy and skills

The following statement was given to Panorama in response to their claims:

Blackburn is a town on the up. Our diversity is a big strength. Building links between communities continues to be a priority.

We are proud of the opportunities people have to mix socially. It’s all around for people to see, at the many events, leisure activities and in our town centre.

There is real determination by a lot of like-minded people to do really amazing things for the good of the town. The positive approach which we continue to take is recognised nationally.

That’s not to say things are perfect. We do have challenges and there is always more that can be done. We fully acknowledge the segregation of communities in terms of where people live and also the fact that parents make use of choice when it comes to where to send their children to school.

We chose to focus on meaningful ways to give people a good start in life whatever their background, growing prosperity for all as well as encouraging understanding and respect. These are the ingredients for a successful place.

The Council’s social integration strategy.

A short video has also been produced highlighted the views of people who work and live in the local community.

Blackburn with Darwen school pupils joined together in 2017 to create the Peace Charter to look at cohesion and respect. It is a set of principles, developed and agreed by the pupils themselves.

Find out more about the Peace Charter.

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