Integrated communities are those in which everyone – whatever their background – thrive by being able to access and participate in all the spheres of community life, from finding a home or job, to cultural life, healthcare or civic activism. All have a stake in that locality, and it belongs to them all. We recognise integration as a series of processes. However, we also understand the way in which inequality and discrimination can impact upon that sense of identity and belonging and so tackling these should be a fundamental part of any integration effort.
Never has this been more important. Even before Covid-19, communities up and down the country were grappling with huge challenges to integration: deep cuts to our public services, more precarious forms of work, growing inequalities, and the rapid pace of social and technological change. The pandemic has merely exposed and entrenched many of these issues.