Sheffield Cohesion Advisory Group (CAG)
CAG brings together diverse voices to learn from each other and to act as a sounding board and critical friend to partners
The Cohesion Advisory Group is a resource rooted in faith and community experience, initially drawn from Sheffield Faiths Forum and Sheffield BME network. We assist Sheffield City Council and partners in their approach to community cohesion. CAG organises an annual community recall conference in February/March to enhance dialogue with communities and to report on work completed.
Members of the group act in a voluntary capacity, bringing experience, knowledge and understanding of their own and from the wider community. CAG is supported by a part-time facilitator (half a day a week).
What we mean by cohesion
Cohesion means people living and working in harmony with respect for each other. This requires building good relationships with neighbours and across the city. We recognise that good relations require a commitment to equality and justice. We therefore regard economic opportunity and well-being as essential conditions for cohesion.
Working towards cohesion involves:
- Building relationships where power is shared on a basis of cooperation and collaboration
- Seeing each other as neighbours, recognising similarities and hearing each others’ stories
- Taking preventative actions and tackling systemic blockages that result in educational, economic and other inequalities
- Encouraging integration alongside addressing issues of differences in development between communities
- Managing conflict and talking about difficult things through open and honest discussions.
What we’ve been working on
Over the past 18 months CAG has:
- Held regular meetings where community issues are discussed and actions agreed; updates received on the cohesion planning structures and upcoming agendas and issues.
- Held a special meeting to consider responses to an increase in Hate Crime and Incidents following the Referendum Campaign and outcome.
- Collaborated with the Equality Hubs to align our work and priorities and increase our joint impact – in particular on Hate Crime reporting and on the relationship between cohesion and the Prevent Strategy.
- Promoted and actively engaged in a co-production approach to developing a new cohesion strategy for the city together with the VCF Leadership group and Council officers resulting in Sheffield Together: the Sheffield Cohesion Framework for Action.
- Linked to cohesion strategy and planning in the city through the Cohesion, Migration and Integration Strategy Group and the Cohesion and Migration Partnership Group. These meetings bring together community, City Council, South Yorkshire Police and other agencies in dialogue.
- Met with the Fair City Campaign Advisory Group to align the Fair City Campaign and cohesion strategic priorities.
Sheffield Together: Annual Conference Report 2017
Over 80 people attended the conference held at Sheffield Town Hall on 2nd March 2017.
Speakers included Cllr Jack Scott, Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest, Mike Fitter, Mubarak Hassan, Angela Greenwood, and Abtisam Mohamed (Aspiring Communities Together).
Participants were asked how their work/neighbourhood/community has changed over the last year? Responses fell into the following categories.
- Impact of the EU referendum
- Organisations working together
- World issues
- National government policies
- Young people
Download the full conference report, including information on the eight workshops.
How we are resourced
The group receives a small amount of project funding from Sheffield City Council which provides for the CAG facilitator, the annual community conference and admin expenses.
Mubarak Hassan, Co-Chair
MESH Mediation Sheffield
Mike Fitter, Co-Chair
Sheffield Faiths Together Executive
Jo Ann Britton
Sheffield University – Sociology Department
St Mary’s Community Centre Volunteer
Methodist Circuit Leadership Group
Pakistan Advice and Community Association
City of Sanctuary Sheffield