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Togetherness key for new cohesion project

4 Feb 2021 - 14:18 by michelle.foster

we stand togetherWe Stand Together to take anti-discrimination workshops to schools, colleges, youth and community groups alongside developing and supporting local WeStandTogether groups to undertake local cohesion work.

WeStandTogether will be undertaking a large-scale prevention project focussing on protecting people and communities most vulnerable to hate crime in Greater Manchester including minority ethnicities and religions, refugees, LGBT+, disabled and older people. Using funds made available from the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the project intend to increase people’s confidence to report hate crime and support those who wish to stand together with minorities to challenge hatred.
Recent years have seen significant increases in hate incidents and hate crimes both nationally and specifically in Greater Manchester. There is great concern among politicians, the media and community leaders at the divisions which have opened up across the country.

We Stand Together’s community cohesion initiative comes as the country is in lockdown and needs, more than ever, to heal divisions. It has three aspects:

  • Rolling out Anti-discrimination Workshops to schools, colleges, youth and community groups
  • Developing local WeStandTogether groups
  • Delivering a WeStandTogether and YouthStandTogether Conference in late 2021

Jonny Wineberg, Director of Operations, explained, “Even though we are required to stay home as much as possible, there are still opportunities for online interaction, which we will be seizing. The initiative came about after extensive consultation and builds on recommendations from the Greater Manchester Cohesion Commission report ‘A Shared Future’ as well as reinforcing the GMP approach to neighbourhood policing. It is designed to reach young people as well as adults across communities. By the summer we hope that we can return to more familiar ways of people coming together with diverse gatherings building respect and understanding.”

One additional aspect of the project will be a new Affiliate Awards Programme, where those running local activities and establishing WeStandTogether or YouthStandTogether groups could win one of 16 Awards, up to £2,500. Groups would be expected to bring together people from diverse backgrounds through workshops, celebrations, dialogues or other activities. Those showing the strongest cohesion impact will be selected for awards in August 2021.

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