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Lord Bourne launches new integration fund for communities

PICTURED: Communities Minister Lord Bourne

SIXTEEN PROJECTS across the UK are set to receive £3 million of new funding to support innovative approaches to integration, Communities Minister Lord Bourne confirmed today (May 20).

From a community gardening project in south-west London that helps new migrants to practice their English language skills while learning how to cultivate land, to table tennis clubs to be run across three housing estates in Brighton, the Government’s Integrated Communities Innovation Fund will help drive forward projects to tackle the causes of poor integration.

Delivered in partnership with Sport England, the Fund will engage 70,000 people with activities in schools, community and leisure centres, and in partnership with businesses, local authorities and housing associations.

The Communities Minister made the announcement while visiting the Blackfriars Settlement in London which is running a project to encourage social mixing through pop-up ‘friendliness cafes.

Of the fund, Lord Bourne said: “Britain is on the whole a well-integrated society, but we know that too many people are still locked out of the benefits that come with full participation in society.

“To tackle the root causes of poor integration we need to bring together people from all backgrounds and from all parts of society, from business leaders to grassroots charities.

“That is why we have partnered with Sport England to fund sixteen trailblazing projects that seek to bridge divides and bring communities together in bold and innovative ways.”

The government will fund 14 projects across the country, while Sport England will fund two projects in Birmingham and Brighton.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive, Sport England said: “Sport England is proud to be working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to help integrate communities up and down the country.

“Not only does taking part in sport and physical activity have powerful mental and physical health benefits, it can help people develop new skills and bring them together in a shared experience.

“We look forward to working with the projects as they help people feel more connected to their communities and society as a whole.”

Today’s announcement is part of the Government’s ongoing work to tackle the causes of poor integration, including working with five Integration Areas across England: Blackburn with Darwen; Bradford; Peterborough; Walsall; and Waltham Forest, who have produced their own ambitious local integration plans.

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