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Cohesion Advisory Group

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The latest CAG meeting was held 14/03/2017 and much appreciation was shared about the workshop run by Usman, Tomas and Sean.

Quoted from group "Thank you for the work you do to support them. Usman's facilitation skills were very impressive and Tomas and Sean both had so much to offer".


Questions Answers
1. What work has PACA developed that contributes to community cohesion?

There has been a cohesion worker at the centre for a while, trying to start different projects that bring a different kind of offering to the area

2. What (up to 5) lessons has PACA learned that need to be shared more widely?

1. locally driven initiatives must be listened to: that have as its basis the health and thriving of the area at its core are crucial to a better understanding of what the residents are actually experiencing

2. financial support and some degree of operational autonomy are crucial for these spaces: it will help establish them as safe, recognisable, and meaningful destinations for those who need assistance

3. general as well as culturally focused offerings are both necessary: the latter because specific language / religious / ethnic communities need to have their own spaces and times of gathering to meet and socialise

4. education on difference is important: diversity is the more positive and official term, though the lived experience of those on the ground is more akin to “difference”. people need to understand that there *are* irreconcilable differences in life, and the real issue is not merely tolerating them as a result of “diversity”, but learning to have empathy for those who are struggling with more problems than you

5. conflict is best mediated by those in the know: PACA is a hub for many people who are seeking different kinds of support. coming through our doors is therefore a cross-section of those who are most vulnerable and dependent on help. this puts us in a position of trust with our centre users, thus giving us a more personal understanding of what is irritating / worrying them.

3. What views does PACA have on how best to make a contribution to strategic developments as well as activity on the ground with communities?

We are situated right at the centre of an economically deprived area that is having difficulty adjusting to large scale immigration, that is dealing with a multilateral cultural collision as well as widespread poverty. all this is within an area that is already resource-strapped. we have always pushed for a multi-pronged approach, as PACA’s purpose shifts and grows with the needs of the area.

Given our location, we are well positioned to house, train, and engage people from various communities in the neighbourhood, to develop and sustain relationships with those who can fairly represent different kinds of needs. to do so, we must have the infrastructural capacity to establish and follow through the goals we set, since this kind of work is unquestionably for the longer term. if we have additional support, we can build a much sounder basis for this provision, record its development, and make regular reports to our collaborators / funders / partners.

4. In what ways is PACA interested in working in colaboration with other VCF organisations in Sheffield to increase Community Dialogue and Development initiatives?

In providing greater insight to what the problems, conflicts, and needs are on the ground, more precise solutions can be proposed. for each neighbourhood, there are geographies, racial histories, and power struggles that are completely specific to it.


Through discussion of these questions it is envisaged that a PACA Action Plan in support of the cohesion strategy will emerge.



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