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Minister endorses borough’s social integration progress

Published Thursday 10 October 2019 at 16:06

The new Faith & Communities Minister was given an overview of the borough’s social integration programme on a visit to Blackburn with Darwen earlier today.

Lord Younger met with representatives from the borough council and its partners in the Our Community, Our Future programme.

In a series of meetings, Lord Younger heard how good progress is being made against the borough’s targets in its social integration strategy.

He met with representatives of the Council, the DWP, Blackburn College, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation and Newground.

Partners gave updates on their involvement across a range of projects, including the Youth Ambassador and Community Ambassador programmes, and the Youth Voices and Community Voices events that have been taking place throughout the borough.

Lord Younger also heard about how partners are working together to better co-ordinate English language teaching in Blackburn with Darwen, as well as how a qualitative research study is exploring people’s attitudes to social integration and identity in the borough.

The Minister’s visit also included a tour of Blackburn Cathedral, hosted by Vice Dean and Canon Missioner, The Revd Canon Dr Rowena Pailing.

After his visit to Blackburn with Darwen, Lord Younger commented:

It has been inspiring to visit Blackburn and Darwen today to meet community leaders who are supporting their residents through a range of dynamic and creative integration projects.

Today has given me a glimpse into the real positive impact that the Our Community, Our Future programme is having on the lives of individuals and the prosperity of organisations.

I am proud to be working closely with Blackburn with Darwen Council as part of our Integrated Communities Action Plan as we build stronger, more integrated communities across the UK.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said:

We were honoured to host a visit from Lord Younger in his role as Faith & Communities Minster. He is keen to familiarise himself with the five Integration Areas that are working closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government on their Integrated Communities programme.

We have always recognised that we cannot achieve our social integration goals in isolation. Joined-up working with key partners and stakeholders is vital to the success of our social integration programme. During his visit, Lord Younger had the opportunity to talk to a variety of the Council’s partners and hear more about their projects – and the impact they are having in our local communities.

Denise Park, Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, added:

We were able to demonstrate to Lord Younger the progress that we’re making on a variety of projects – from the workforce integration projects Blackburn College is leading on, to the young people’s engagement activities the Strategic Youth Alliance is helping to deliver.

The visit today gave us a good opportunity to take stock and appreciate just how much work has happened since we launched our strategy last December. Lord Younger showed genuine interest in learning about how we are involving many partners in achieving our ambitious targets.

Blackburn with Darwen is one of five national Integration Areas, invited to work with the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government on its Integrated Communities programme.

Our Community, Our Future is the name of the borough’s social integration programme.

For more information about Our Community, Our Future, visit www.blackburn.gov.uk/about-council/social-integration.

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