A cohesive community is one where:
- There is common vision and a sense of belonging for all communities
- The diversity of people’s different backgrounds and circumstances are appreciated and positively valued
- Those from different backgrounds have similar life opportunities
- Strong and positive relationships are being developed between people from different backgrounds in the workplace, in schools and within neighbourhoods
Local Government Association (2002)
Community cohesion aims to build communities where people feel confident that they belong and are happy to mix with others, particularly people from different backgrounds. When people are able to identify what they have in common, and work together to solve issues in their community, fear, mistrust and prejudice is sidelined in the process. A cohesive community is one in which people will want to live and invest.
There is evidence to suggest that when communities came together to support local residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, it had a beneficial impact on increasing that sense of belonging.
In the 2021 Talk Community Wellbeing Survey, conducted with Herefordshire residents, 88% said they very or fairly strongly felt they belonged to their local area. Indeed, those that felt very strongly (47%) has significantly increased compared to the last comparable local survey in 2012 (22%).
Talk Community support a number of initiatives and projects within the county, which help develop and grow a positive feeling of community wellbeing and cohesion, including...
A hate crime is when someone is abused, intimidated, victimised or harassed, either verbally and / or physically, because of their race, faith, religion, disability or sexuality.
Unfortunately, although this is a criminal offence, half of all hate crimes are not reported to the police.
In Herefordshire, we have low levels of hate crime and those that are reported are often verbal abuse. For instance, people’s prejudices often come out when a situation causes conflict, such as a dispute between neighbours. It’s important to take appropriate action, both as a witness or a victim of hate crime.
Can you take action?
If it’s safe and appropriate to do so, can you have a conversation with the person whose language or opinions are shown to be prejudiced against others?
Here are some top tips you can try, courtesy of Hope Not Hate:
- Be present, engaged, alert and provide your full attention
- Think of your body language
- Ask probing, Socratic questions (see below for further details), but remember not to talk over people
- Repeat what you think the other person is feeling or trying to say
- Try and vocalise shared or common feelings and experiences and direct the conversation this way. Probe or point out the difference in conclusions
- It’s important to distinguish the valid concerns of the person you are speaking to and the conclusions that they draw
- Do not discount the other person’s feelings
- Do not be baited by the other person
- Indicate you are listening by offering invitations to say more and make eye contact
- Don’t interrupt, interrogate or change direction
An example of Socratic questions, include:
- Why do you say that?
- Why do you assume this?
- What would be an example of that?
- What is another way of looking at this?
- What are you implying?
- What do you think would result from this?
To find out more about hate crime, including how to report it, please visit Herefordshire Council's website.
A Safe Place is somewhere where vulnerable people can go for help and support, if they feel upset or threatened, when they're out and about in Herefordshire.
There are currently over 50 Safe Places located across the county, including Bromyard, Hereford, Kington, Ledbury, Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and Yarpole, ranging from local shops and businesses to churches and libraries.
All designated Safe Places will display the above yellow Safe Place sticker in an obvious and visible location, normally on the front window or door.
To find out more, please take a look at our Safe Places Scheme page.
Herefordshire Council run the No Prejudice in HEREfordshire campaign, which aims to make it clear that prejudice, in whatever form it manifests itself, should not be tolerated by anyone.
If you'd like to sign up to the No Prejudice in HEREfordshire campaign or you're running a local event or activity, which promotes community cohesion and respect for one another, please get in touch with the council's Diversity Team, as they may be able to offer additional support. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.