Newham’s Mayor Sir Robin Wales on community cohesion success


- Credit: Archant

Last week I went on Radio 4 to discuss a study by think tank the Young Foundation, which suggested people who live in cities are more polite and connected than those in villages or new towns.

Of the areas involved in the research, Newham came top in terms of politeness, indicating people here and in city areas generally, look out for each other far more than anyone imagined.

The researchers also found that here, where there are more children, residents are far more tolerant of youthful behaviour than in more affluent areas where older people were quick to jump to conclusions about “spoilt”, “rowdy”, “rude” and “intimidating” youngsters.

It’s always good when Newham comes top in something – but it is not something that happened by accident. Community cohesion is not inevitable and can’t be taken for granted. The decisions Newham Council makes play a vital role in building cohesion and it is a key concern that informs everything we do

We have more than 200 languages and dialects spoken in our schools and we welcome that diversity. We are proud of the East End’s tradition of welcoming those who come to the UK for a better life for themselves and their family.

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Our approach works – 87 per cent of residents say this is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well with each other.

We want to give our community the support to build their own vision, to engender pride, break down barriers and set an example of what is and is not acceptable. You don’t have to have been born here to belong here, to feel at home here.

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Through community events and a wide variety of sports and activities, we bring residents together, especially our young, helping them to build trust, understanding and friendships.

That will be more than evident at the Mayor’s Newham Show and Carnival in East Ham’s Central Park at the weekend. It promises to be a glorious occasion and I hope to see many of you there.

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