In a year that’s kept us apart, we’re going to celebrate how different communities are coming together.

By Rachel Marangozov, Chair of the MigrationWork Trust.

Sound impossible? Perhaps, but the Community Integration Awards has always aimed to reward inspirational work that slips below the radar – those projects and initiatives that advance social integration, often with little resource and with even less expectation of an award.

This year, we’re back and our aim is no different. We are still looking for projects and initiatives that advance social integration by bringing together migrant, refugee and more ‘settled’ communities. However, this year, we’re hoping to shine a light on those projects which have managed to respond or adapt their work to the challenges of Covid-19.

There’s no doubt, 2020 has been an extraordinary year. The pandemic has redefined our very notions of ‘community’ and ‘togetherness’ at a time when many places in the UK were already feeling the effects of austerity cuts. While this has brought immense challenges, we also know that amazing work (driven by even more amazing people) is rising to the challenge, whether it be faith groups delivering food parcels to frontline workers, community organisations finding creative ways to connect people despite social distancing, such as the Olympias Music Foundation or refugees drawing on their skills and experience to support their wider community. One of our very own Awards Judges, Hassan Akkad, has himself been campaigning for refugee rights while also helping to ensure that his local hospital is clean and safe for the community as a whole.

We know that there are people out there who are working harder than ever to realise integration as a reality for all the communities they serve. It is these people that this year’s Community Integration Awards wants to recognise and support.

Can you help us shine a light on these unsung heroes? If yes, then you can nominate eligible projects when nominations open on October 12th 2020 so they have a chance to win £1,000, a short film about their work, and a tailored package of support to take their work forward.

The projects we’re looking for haven’t just been a bright spot in difficult times; they’ve been a lifeline to those who have found themselves at the very margins of their community because of the pandemic. And as lockdown lifts, and people are still coming to terms with personal loss, grief and the effects of lost livelihoods and continued uncertainty, we want to celebrate and clap for them, yes, but we also want to reward them, help raise the profile of their work and ask the difficult questions about how to sustain their work to the benefit of all our communities.

Previous winners of the Community Integration Awards have gone on to do even greater things since getting their award, such as gaining charitable status, more funding and recognition by the likes of HuffPost, Forbes 30 Under 30 and Members of Parliament. But don’t just take our word for it. In the coming weeks, they’ll be telling you themselves what winning an award meant for them in their own words, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, follow us on @integration_uk for all the latest news and stick these key dates in your diary.

12th October 2020 –  nominations open! Get thinking about who you’d like to nominate and read about our three Awards Categories to give you a good idea of what we’re looking for.

30th November 2020 – close of nominations. Judges will get to work reading about all the great work that’s being done in communities up and down the country. In previous years, this has been their favourite bit!

Before ChristmasWinners are notified. Best of luck!

End of January, date TBC – Awards ceremony. Join us (virtually or in person) for drinks, food and a celebration of the very best of community spirit.

By Rachel Marangozov, Chair of the MigrationWork Trust.

Go top