Cities are at the forefront in managing the benefits and the challenges migration and inclusion can bring. In Bristol, one of the UK’s most diverse cities, nearly 200 migrant, refugee and local community members shared their own experiences and perspectives in an event marking the UK’s national Refugee Week.
The 19 June One City, Many Stories event hosted by Mayor Marvin Rees, and partnering with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Bristol Refugee Festival, explored the themes of inclusion and integration.
Opportunities to express different cultures and experiences can become a hub and beacon for inclusion, like St. Paul’s Carnival, according to many at the Refugee Week event. Discussions highlighted the skills and qualifications that many refugees and migrants bring, but also the challenges they face in applying them in the local labour market. Participants also emphasised the importance engaging host communities in discussions on inclusion, particularly those who might themselves feel left behind or excluded.
“As the first European elected Mayor of African descent, I’m proud to lead a city that strives to be inclusive and welcoming for all its residents,” said Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.
“Inclusion is not something that happens quickly or easily, and it can’t be ‘delivered’ by the Local Authority. It required a constant dialogue and collaboration between communities and organisations across the city, and that’s why this event is so important,” Rees continued.
A recent study by The Challenge found that 44 per cent of British people report that none of the contacts they spend time with socially are from a different ethnic background.
With 16% of its population born outside the UK and over 91 languages spoken on its streets, Bristol is one of the UK’s most multi-cultural cities. Over 6,000 people attended a recent Grand Iftar street party in East Bristol.