Much of the work in the coming years will be shaped by challenges from Brexit, Covid-19 and other global issues like climate change and conflict-driven migration, especially in terms of providing support for the most vulnerable people in our communities. While Covid-19 highlighted (and often intensified) inequalities around ethnicity, gender, disability and social class, these inequalities are not new. As we move into recovery, there is an opportunity to rethink and reshape how things are done, to create a fairer society for everyone.
To that end, the Integrate Grampian partnership has a vision for the region as an area that is welcoming to those who choose to live, work, study, bring up a family or start a business here. In practice, this means a region where:
- Physical and mental health services are inclusive for all, health inequalities are minimised, and the long-term consequences of Covid-19 are addressed equitably.
- Barriers to accessing public services are addressed, especially in terms of language and cultural barriers, digital literacy and disabled access. Those who cannot access digital resources are not excluded. Genuine public engagement includes marginalised communities, especially those who are most affected by the issues being discussed.
- Quality housing options are available to meet the needs of all, including refugees and asylum seekers.
- Everyone feels safe, welcome and respected in their communities. There are opportunities to build meaningful connections between people from different countries, backgrounds, cultures, etc.
- There is equal access to education, both for school-age children and adults, supporting learning as well as integration for both learners and their families. Opportunities to learn English genuinely meet the needs of those who have English as an additional language.
- Employment opportunities are accessible to all, including opportunities for people to transfer their qualifications and access employment that matches their skills and experience.
- There is vigilance against hate crime, prejudice, modern slavery, exploitation and trafficking.
- Good practice in promoting integration and community cohesion is shared, both within Grampian and with external partners and networks.
- Equality is not a ‘tick-box’ exercise but a value that is genuinely embedded in our society.
This document is a starting point for meeting this vision. By identifying what data is currently available, we have a clearer idea of the issues and a baseline for measuring progress. Next steps include agreeing priority areas to progress, considering how this can be delivered, by which partners, and to establish mechanisms, such as action plans, that will allow monitoring and reporting of progress.
Partnership working, evaluation, learning and pro-activity will be key to making a difference to our region, and as partners we are committed to taking forward our vision with these core values.