19 September 2016 – Media Release: Discussion Paper Community
Social cohesion begins at a community level:
New paper encourages collaboration
The Scanlon Foundation today released a discussion paper exploring the role of local communities in creating a sense of belonging and unity, particularly in low socio-economic, high immigrant areas.
Building on its annual national Mapping Social Cohesion research, and the recently released Australians Today report, the Community Discussion Paper draws attention to key issues for local leaders and organisations to consider in supporting integration and combating discrimination and isolation in communities.
CEO of the Scanlon Foundation, Anthea Hancocks, says the paper is intended to be a catalyst for discussion amongst local government, community groups and schools to create better frameworks and programs to build more cooperative and resilient communities.
“Our research shows that certain segments of the population continue to experience very high levels of discrimination and others have quite low levels of trust in others. These experiences may contribute to a lower sense of belonging and an increased reluctance to participate in the broader community,” Ms Hancocks said.
Results from the Foundation’s 2015 survey found that indication of trust in others amongst low socio-economic, high immigrant areas was at 32 per cent, compared with 50 per cent at the national level.
“Communities are the heart and soul of our nation. Although many local councils and organisations are implementing great initiatives in fostering social cohesion, especially in immigrant communities, these efforts need to be sustained,” Ms Hancocks said.
International leading research shows that there are effective solutions communities can implement to encourage social cohesion, including: relationship-building activities to promote trust, ensuring community programs maintain fairness and prioritise local issues, creating youth-focused programs, and creating risk-management strategies responding to challenges to social harmony.
“We hope the discussion paper will create debate and inspire leaders and organisations to work together on initiatives to foster social cohesion within their local areas,” she said.
The Scanlon Foundation Citizenship Discussion Paper will be launched in Brisbane, Queensland on Monday 19 September and is available at www.scanlonfoundation.org.au