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Grant funding helping racial cohesion

HOUNSLOW’S Asian and African Youth Association (HAAYA) held a week-long team building exercise last week, bringing together youngsters from six different ethnic groups including Eritreans, Pakistanis, Bengalis and Somalis, thanks to a grant from the Council’s Community Cohesian Fund.

The association was one of six to receive funding for projects aimed at improving community relations across the borough.

The aim of the grant is to provide small scale funding to encourage local community activities that promote integration, and to offer support for voluntary organisations who want to deliver community cohesion projects.

Suhel Miah, Personal Advisor at HAAYA, said "The exercise was very successful in bringing community cohesion. One of the great strengths was the effect of having such a large group from so many diverse ethnic origins begin to really get to know each other. They were taught the importance of working as a cohesive team."

Councillor Amrit Mann, Hounslow’s Executive Member for Promoting Community Cohesion, said: "Community cohesion is about the development of strong, positive relationships between people from different backgrounds in the workplace, in schools and within neighbourhoods, and where cultural diversity is valued.

"We are encouraging different communities to get together and understand one another, and the Community Cohesion Fund is a positive step towards bringing these projects to life. This not only breaks stereotypes, but helps communities to articulate their concerns about community issues."

Another organisation that benefited from council funding was ‘Dituria’ an organisation of the Kosovan/Albanian community, which was able to hold a cross-culture sporting day with 350 people participating in the event.

Ruzhdi Jata said: "We played traditional games including ‘Dibra Costell’ - passing of hats from the Kosovan and Albanian communities, and popular games from Somalia."

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