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Written Statement - Community Cohesion Delivery Plan 2016-17

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Community cohesion is about how people who live and work in the same place get along.
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

I have today published the Community Cohesion National Delivery Plan for 2016-17. To support delivery, I have committed to the continuation of funding for the eight Regional Community Cohesion Co-ordinators’ posts across Wales. These roles will continue to support all 22 Local Authorities and their partners to deliver against national priorities and build upon the positive progress made to promote inclusion and resilience across our communities.

The Delivery Plan includes seven outcomes on hate crime, modern slavery, Gypsies and Travellers, immigration, tackling poverty, mainstreaming and tension monitoring. These outcomes will continue to focus on key areas where a co-ordinated approach to support cohesion across our communities will make an important difference. I am clear we need to continue to listen to people and communities. We need to evolve policies and services by continuing to explore ways to break down barriers and foster positive relationships across our communities. This Government has continued to make a strong commitment to enhance community cohesion.

Clearly there are emergent areas which will continue to test the strength of our communities.. This is not only the case at a local and a national level, but we are seeing how the use of social media and global events are impacting on our everyday lives. This has particularly come to the fore in light of the humanitarian crisis in Syria. The role of the Co-ordinators has been essential to working with Local Authorities to strengthen the efforts to support the Syrian Resettlement Programme. The Community Cohesion Co-ordinator roles also remain imperative to support the delivery of our Tackling Hate Crimes and Incidents Framework at a local level and support work to prevent violent extremism.

Whilst the Delivery Plan encourages the need for pro-active work and engagement, it strongly focuses on a longer term vision in support of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, particularly through the national goal for more cohesive communities. This ensures principles of cohesion are enshrined in legislation to support the need to look at the sustainability of our communities and encourage long term thinking of how communities interact, live and work harmoniously together.