Changing Places-Changing Minds: Applying Learning from Groundwork in Northern Ireland,

N Jarman,, J Pearce, L Keys, Derick Wilson

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Abstract

    Community cohesion has been developed as a key concept and policy framework in response to the riots and disorder that occurred in a numerous northern English towns during the spring and summer of 2001. A number of reviews and reports identified increasing levels of ethnic segregation and polarisation as key factors underlying the violence and the Government has since encouraged all local authorities to initiate comprehensive strategies to respond to this social fragmentation. In Northern Ireland segregation, polarisation and inter-communal violence have been key features of society for many years. However the transitional period of the ‘peace process’ since 1994 has created more space and opportunity for a variety of attempts to counter ethnic hostility, suspicion, fear and mistrust. During this period Groundwork Northern Ireland has developed distinctive models of work within the sphere of environmental regeneration to build better relationships and understanding between some of the segregated communities and to work towards improving levels of community cohesion. This report reviews the work of Groundwork Northern Ireland to assess the impact of its work and through so doing to assess the potential for the adoption of similar approaches to regeneration work by Groundwork in England and Wales. The review of developments in the north of England revealed that community cohesion remains a confusing and for some a controversial concept for many working within the sector. However, it has generated new thinking and practice and if it is seen as a process and not a project, then it can be said that a process has begun.There is now a body of practice around cohesion work, which reflects the multiplicity of potential approaches. These range from ‘celebrating diversity’ and building communication between communities and neighbourhoods, to projects aiming to build the esteem and capacity of poor communities. However, there have been a number of difficulties with implementing the cohesion agenda in practice, these include: Conceptual Weakness and Disagreements: The conceptualisation of the cohesion concept remains weak. For some practitioners that is a strength in that it allows space for creativity, but for others it perpetuates confusion and uncertainty. Embedding and Mainstreaming: The mainstreaming of community cohesion is a fraught issue at many levels. There is widespread recognition that promoting cohesion should be embedded across ministries, local government sectors, statutory agencies and within the community and voluntary sector. But in practice this has proved difficult to achieve. Attitudes and institutional cultures are often resistant to change. Partnership and participation: The government encourages working in partnership but institutional cultures are often resistant. Some local organisations have become disillusioned and frustrated, creating lasting damage to partnership relationships.Funding regimes need to adapt to the process orientation of cohesion work. They need to acknowledge how little is yet known about how to overcome segregation and prejudice in practice. Community cohesion has been hailed as the ‘new social policy agenda’, but it has yet to be fully embedded within Government departments and agencies that have responsibility for developing and implementing policy. Groundwork Northern Ireland has developed an innovative approach to regeneration work. This is based on a clear value base and a structured theoretical outline to provide a conceptual framework for its work. The organisation is involved in three broad types of project work:• Single identity work where, at least, the funder brings a vision of and an awareness about ‘others’ who are essential to building a shared society;• Single identity work with cross community contact with different ‘others’; and • Community relations fora where people from different traditions, identities and places meet and work together. Much of the work remains single identity activity, but there is a clear objective to build these relationships and to encourage groups to build contacts and working relationships with groups from the other community. The research indicates that the capacity of Groundwork Northern Ireland to undertake a wide variety of community cohesion work is based upon its solid organisational structure and ethos. This structure has been developed and reviewed over recent years, but remains an ongoing process. Among the most important elements of the organisational foundation are:• The engagement of the staff and the Board in developing a clear strategy; • The Board contains people from different traditions and social backgrounds; • A coherent statement of the organisational values and goals; • A clear framework for understanding the rationale of the varieties of work;• Acknowledgement of the potential risks for both staff and the organisation of undertaking ‘difficult’ work;• Provision of support for the programme of activity including an accessible organisational base and improved staff training and development; and • The ability and the capacity to deliver on promises and commitments.The process of establishing Groundwork Northern Ireland as an organisation capable of engaging positively within the community cohesion framework has taken time, discussion and effort. It has also created stresses and strains within the organisation. These are important considerations for Groundwork UK and for individual Groundwork trusts in assessing whether they should explore a similar trajectory.
    LanguageEnglish
    Number of pages116
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Fingerprint

    group cohesion
    learning
    community
    segregation
    staff
    polarization
    contact
    violence
    social background
    peace process
    organizational structure
    prejudice
    fragmentation
    ministry
    creativity
    Values
    damages
    Group
    town
    funding

    Keywords

    • Social cohesion
    • single identity
    • reconciliation
    • environmental regeneration
    • peacebuilding
    • conflict resolution
    • segregation
    • polarisation
    • interdependence
    • institutional cultures.

    Cite this

    Jarman, N ; Pearce, J ; Keys, L ; Wilson, Derick. / Changing Places-Changing Minds: Applying Learning from Groundwork in Northern Ireland,. 2005. 116 p.
    @book{d9f023b7bacd411cb93b5f6088d0b2ff,
    title = "Changing Places-Changing Minds: Applying Learning from Groundwork in Northern Ireland,",
    abstract = "Community cohesion has been developed as a key concept and policy framework in response to the riots and disorder that occurred in a numerous northern English towns during the spring and summer of 2001. A number of reviews and reports identified increasing levels of ethnic segregation and polarisation as key factors underlying the violence and the Government has since encouraged all local authorities to initiate comprehensive strategies to respond to this social fragmentation. In Northern Ireland segregation, polarisation and inter-communal violence have been key features of society for many years. However the transitional period of the ‘peace process’ since 1994 has created more space and opportunity for a variety of attempts to counter ethnic hostility, suspicion, fear and mistrust. During this period Groundwork Northern Ireland has developed distinctive models of work within the sphere of environmental regeneration to build better relationships and understanding between some of the segregated communities and to work towards improving levels of community cohesion. This report reviews the work of Groundwork Northern Ireland to assess the impact of its work and through so doing to assess the potential for the adoption of similar approaches to regeneration work by Groundwork in England and Wales. The review of developments in the north of England revealed that community cohesion remains a confusing and for some a controversial concept for many working within the sector. However, it has generated new thinking and practice and if it is seen as a process and not a project, then it can be said that a process has begun.There is now a body of practice around cohesion work, which reflects the multiplicity of potential approaches. These range from ‘celebrating diversity’ and building communication between communities and neighbourhoods, to projects aiming to build the esteem and capacity of poor communities. However, there have been a number of difficulties with implementing the cohesion agenda in practice, these include: Conceptual Weakness and Disagreements: The conceptualisation of the cohesion concept remains weak. For some practitioners that is a strength in that it allows space for creativity, but for others it perpetuates confusion and uncertainty. Embedding and Mainstreaming: The mainstreaming of community cohesion is a fraught issue at many levels. There is widespread recognition that promoting cohesion should be embedded across ministries, local government sectors, statutory agencies and within the community and voluntary sector. But in practice this has proved difficult to achieve. Attitudes and institutional cultures are often resistant to change. Partnership and participation: The government encourages working in partnership but institutional cultures are often resistant. Some local organisations have become disillusioned and frustrated, creating lasting damage to partnership relationships.Funding regimes need to adapt to the process orientation of cohesion work. They need to acknowledge how little is yet known about how to overcome segregation and prejudice in practice. Community cohesion has been hailed as the ‘new social policy agenda’, but it has yet to be fully embedded within Government departments and agencies that have responsibility for developing and implementing policy. Groundwork Northern Ireland has developed an innovative approach to regeneration work. This is based on a clear value base and a structured theoretical outline to provide a conceptual framework for its work. The organisation is involved in three broad types of project work:• Single identity work where, at least, the funder brings a vision of and an awareness about ‘others’ who are essential to building a shared society;• Single identity work with cross community contact with different ‘others’; and • Community relations fora where people from different traditions, identities and places meet and work together. Much of the work remains single identity activity, but there is a clear objective to build these relationships and to encourage groups to build contacts and working relationships with groups from the other community. The research indicates that the capacity of Groundwork Northern Ireland to undertake a wide variety of community cohesion work is based upon its solid organisational structure and ethos. This structure has been developed and reviewed over recent years, but remains an ongoing process. Among the most important elements of the organisational foundation are:• The engagement of the staff and the Board in developing a clear strategy; • The Board contains people from different traditions and social backgrounds; • A coherent statement of the organisational values and goals; • A clear framework for understanding the rationale of the varieties of work;• Acknowledgement of the potential risks for both staff and the organisation of undertaking ‘difficult’ work;• Provision of support for the programme of activity including an accessible organisational base and improved staff training and development; and • The ability and the capacity to deliver on promises and commitments.The process of establishing Groundwork Northern Ireland as an organisation capable of engaging positively within the community cohesion framework has taken time, discussion and effort. It has also created stresses and strains within the organisation. These are important considerations for Groundwork UK and for individual Groundwork trusts in assessing whether they should explore a similar trajectory.",
    keywords = "Social cohesion, single identity, reconciliation, environmental regeneration, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, segregation, polarisation, interdependence, institutional cultures.",
    author = "N Jarman, and J Pearce and L Keys and Derick Wilson",
    note = "Reference text: Attwood, C., Singh, G., Prime, D., Creasey, R. and others (2003) 2001 Home Office Citizenship Survey: people, families and communities. London, Home Office. Austen, S. (1973) To be Called Stupid. Belfast, Queen’s University Belfast. Belfast City Council (2004) Building Our Future Together: Good Relations Strategy. Belfast, Belfast City Council. Belfast Interface Project (1999) Inner East, Outer West: Addressing conflict in two interface areas. Belfast, Belfast Interface Project. Belfast Interface Project (2004) An Agenda for the Interface. Belfast, Belfast Interface Project. Burton, P., Goodlad, R., Croft, J., Abbott, J., Hastings, A., Macdonald, G. and Slater, T. (2004) What Works in Community Involvement in Area-based Initiatives? A Systematic Review of the Literature. London, Home Office. Cantle, T. (2001) Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team. London, Home Office. Clarke, Lord (2001) Burnley Task Force Report. Burnley, Burnley Task Force. Community Cohesion Panel (2004) ‘The End of Parallel Lives? - The Report of the Community Cohesion Panel’, London: House of Commons. Community Safety Unit (2003) Creating a Safer Northern Ireland through Partnership: A Strategy Document. Belfast, Community Safety Unit. Department for Social Development (2003) People and Place: A Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. Belfast, DSD. Darby, J. and Knox, C. (2004) ‘A Shared Future’: A Consultation Paper on Improving Relations in Northern Ireland. Final Report. Belfast, OFMDFM. Eyben, K., Morrow, D. and Wilson, D. (1997) A Worthwhile Venture Investing in Equity, Diversity and Interdependence in Northern Ireland. Coleraine, University of Ulster. Eyben, K., Morrow, D., Wilson, D. and Robinson, B. (2002) The Equity Diversity and Interdependence Framework. Coleraine, University of Ulster. Eyben, K, Morrow, D, and Wilson, D with Law, J and Nolan, S. (2003) Investing in Trust Building and Good relations in a Public Sector Organisation. Coleraine, University of Ulster and Counteract. Fordham, G., Gore, T., Knight Fordham, R. and Lawless, P. (2002) The Groundwork Movement: Its role in neighbourhood renewal. York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Forrest, R. and Kearns, A. (2000) Social Cohesion, Social Capital and the Neighbourhood. Paper presented at the ESRC Cities Programme Neighbourhoods Colloquium, Liverpool. Groundwork Northern Ireland (nd) Creating Common Ground: A positive approach to segregated space. Belfast, Groundwork NI. Groundwork Northern Ireland (2004) 2004/2007 Strategic Plan. Belfast, Groundwork NI. Hall, M. (2003a) The East Belfast Interface (1): Lower Newtownards Road youth speak out. Newtownabbey, Island Pamphlets. Hall, M. (2003b) The East Belfast Interface (2): Short Strand youth speak out. Newtownabbey, Island Pamphlets. Home Office (2001) Building Cohesive Communities: A Report of the Ministerial Group on Public Order and Community Cohesion. London, Home Office. Home Office (2003a) Building a Picture of Community Cohesion: A Guide for Local Authorities and their Partners. London, Home Office. Home Office (2003b) Community Cohesion Pathfinder Programme: the first six months. October 2003. London, Home Office. Home Office (2003c) Community Cohesion Advice for those designing, developing and delivering Area Based Initiatives. London, Home Office. House of Commons, ODPM: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee (2004) Social Cohesion: Sixth Report of the Session, 2003-04. London, House of Commons. Local Government Association (2001) Guidance on Community Cohesion. London, LGA. Malone, J. (1972) Schools Project in Community Relations Project. Belfast, Queen’s University Belfast. OFMDFM (2003) A Shared Future: A Consultation Paper on Improving Relations in Northern Ireland. Belfast, OFMDFM. OFMDFM (2002) Race Equality Strategy: Consultation Document. Belfast, OFMDFM. Ouseley, H. (2001) Community Pride Not Prejudice: Making Diversity Work in Bradford. Bradford: Bradford Vision. Putnam, R. (1983) Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, Princeton University Press. Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York, Touchstone. Ritchie, D. (2001) One Oldham, One Future, Panel Report 11 December 2001. Oldham, Oldham Independent Review. Runnymede Trust (2003) Developing Community Cohesion: Understanding the Issues, Delivering Solutions. London, Runnymede Trust Social Analysis and Reporting Division, Office for National Statistics (2001) ‘Social Capital: A Review of the Literature’, London: Office for National Statistics. Senge, P., Cambron-McCabe, N., Lucas, T., Smyth, B., Dutton, J. and Kleiner, A. (2000) Schools that Learn: A Fieldbook for Teachers, Administrators, Parents and Everyone Who Cares About Education. London, Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Varshney, A. (2002) Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India. New Haven, Yale University Press. Wright, F. (1987) Northern Ireland: A Comparative Analysis. Dublin, Gill and Macmillan. Wright, F. (1994) Two Lands on One Soil: Ulster Politics before Home Rule. Dublin, Gill and Macmillan.",
    year = "2005",
    language = "English",

    }

    Changing Places-Changing Minds: Applying Learning from Groundwork in Northern Ireland, / Jarman, N; Pearce, J; Keys, L; Wilson, Derick.

    2005. 116 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    TY - BOOK

    T1 - Changing Places-Changing Minds: Applying Learning from Groundwork in Northern Ireland,

    AU - Jarman,, N

    AU - Pearce, J

    AU - Keys, L

    AU - Wilson, Derick

    N1 - Reference text: Attwood, C., Singh, G., Prime, D., Creasey, R. and others (2003) 2001 Home Office Citizenship Survey: people, families and communities. London, Home Office. Austen, S. (1973) To be Called Stupid. Belfast, Queen’s University Belfast. Belfast City Council (2004) Building Our Future Together: Good Relations Strategy. Belfast, Belfast City Council. Belfast Interface Project (1999) Inner East, Outer West: Addressing conflict in two interface areas. Belfast, Belfast Interface Project. Belfast Interface Project (2004) An Agenda for the Interface. Belfast, Belfast Interface Project. Burton, P., Goodlad, R., Croft, J., Abbott, J., Hastings, A., Macdonald, G. and Slater, T. (2004) What Works in Community Involvement in Area-based Initiatives? A Systematic Review of the Literature. London, Home Office. Cantle, T. (2001) Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team. London, Home Office. Clarke, Lord (2001) Burnley Task Force Report. Burnley, Burnley Task Force. Community Cohesion Panel (2004) ‘The End of Parallel Lives? - The Report of the Community Cohesion Panel’, London: House of Commons. Community Safety Unit (2003) Creating a Safer Northern Ireland through Partnership: A Strategy Document. Belfast, Community Safety Unit. Department for Social Development (2003) People and Place: A Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. Belfast, DSD. Darby, J. and Knox, C. (2004) ‘A Shared Future’: A Consultation Paper on Improving Relations in Northern Ireland. Final Report. Belfast, OFMDFM. Eyben, K., Morrow, D. and Wilson, D. (1997) A Worthwhile Venture Investing in Equity, Diversity and Interdependence in Northern Ireland. Coleraine, University of Ulster. Eyben, K., Morrow, D., Wilson, D. and Robinson, B. (2002) The Equity Diversity and Interdependence Framework. Coleraine, University of Ulster. Eyben, K, Morrow, D, and Wilson, D with Law, J and Nolan, S. (2003) Investing in Trust Building and Good relations in a Public Sector Organisation. Coleraine, University of Ulster and Counteract. Fordham, G., Gore, T., Knight Fordham, R. and Lawless, P. (2002) The Groundwork Movement: Its role in neighbourhood renewal. York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Forrest, R. and Kearns, A. (2000) Social Cohesion, Social Capital and the Neighbourhood. Paper presented at the ESRC Cities Programme Neighbourhoods Colloquium, Liverpool. Groundwork Northern Ireland (nd) Creating Common Ground: A positive approach to segregated space. Belfast, Groundwork NI. Groundwork Northern Ireland (2004) 2004/2007 Strategic Plan. Belfast, Groundwork NI. Hall, M. (2003a) The East Belfast Interface (1): Lower Newtownards Road youth speak out. Newtownabbey, Island Pamphlets. Hall, M. (2003b) The East Belfast Interface (2): Short Strand youth speak out. Newtownabbey, Island Pamphlets. Home Office (2001) Building Cohesive Communities: A Report of the Ministerial Group on Public Order and Community Cohesion. London, Home Office. Home Office (2003a) Building a Picture of Community Cohesion: A Guide for Local Authorities and their Partners. London, Home Office. Home Office (2003b) Community Cohesion Pathfinder Programme: the first six months. October 2003. London, Home Office. Home Office (2003c) Community Cohesion Advice for those designing, developing and delivering Area Based Initiatives. London, Home Office. House of Commons, ODPM: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee (2004) Social Cohesion: Sixth Report of the Session, 2003-04. London, House of Commons. Local Government Association (2001) Guidance on Community Cohesion. London, LGA. Malone, J. (1972) Schools Project in Community Relations Project. Belfast, Queen’s University Belfast. OFMDFM (2003) A Shared Future: A Consultation Paper on Improving Relations in Northern Ireland. Belfast, OFMDFM. OFMDFM (2002) Race Equality Strategy: Consultation Document. Belfast, OFMDFM. Ouseley, H. (2001) Community Pride Not Prejudice: Making Diversity Work in Bradford. Bradford: Bradford Vision. Putnam, R. (1983) Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, Princeton University Press. Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York, Touchstone. Ritchie, D. (2001) One Oldham, One Future, Panel Report 11 December 2001. Oldham, Oldham Independent Review. Runnymede Trust (2003) Developing Community Cohesion: Understanding the Issues, Delivering Solutions. London, Runnymede Trust Social Analysis and Reporting Division, Office for National Statistics (2001) ‘Social Capital: A Review of the Literature’, London: Office for National Statistics. Senge, P., Cambron-McCabe, N., Lucas, T., Smyth, B., Dutton, J. and Kleiner, A. (2000) Schools that Learn: A Fieldbook for Teachers, Administrators, Parents and Everyone Who Cares About Education. London, Nicholas Brealey Publishing. Varshney, A. (2002) Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India. New Haven, Yale University Press. Wright, F. (1987) Northern Ireland: A Comparative Analysis. Dublin, Gill and Macmillan. Wright, F. (1994) Two Lands on One Soil: Ulster Politics before Home Rule. Dublin, Gill and Macmillan.

    PY - 2005

    Y1 - 2005

    N2 - Community cohesion has been developed as a key concept and policy framework in response to the riots and disorder that occurred in a numerous northern English towns during the spring and summer of 2001. A number of reviews and reports identified increasing levels of ethnic segregation and polarisation as key factors underlying the violence and the Government has since encouraged all local authorities to initiate comprehensive strategies to respond to this social fragmentation. In Northern Ireland segregation, polarisation and inter-communal violence have been key features of society for many years. However the transitional period of the ‘peace process’ since 1994 has created more space and opportunity for a variety of attempts to counter ethnic hostility, suspicion, fear and mistrust. During this period Groundwork Northern Ireland has developed distinctive models of work within the sphere of environmental regeneration to build better relationships and understanding between some of the segregated communities and to work towards improving levels of community cohesion. This report reviews the work of Groundwork Northern Ireland to assess the impact of its work and through so doing to assess the potential for the adoption of similar approaches to regeneration work by Groundwork in England and Wales. The review of developments in the north of England revealed that community cohesion remains a confusing and for some a controversial concept for many working within the sector. However, it has generated new thinking and practice and if it is seen as a process and not a project, then it can be said that a process has begun.There is now a body of practice around cohesion work, which reflects the multiplicity of potential approaches. These range from ‘celebrating diversity’ and building communication between communities and neighbourhoods, to projects aiming to build the esteem and capacity of poor communities. However, there have been a number of difficulties with implementing the cohesion agenda in practice, these include: Conceptual Weakness and Disagreements: The conceptualisation of the cohesion concept remains weak. For some practitioners that is a strength in that it allows space for creativity, but for others it perpetuates confusion and uncertainty. Embedding and Mainstreaming: The mainstreaming of community cohesion is a fraught issue at many levels. There is widespread recognition that promoting cohesion should be embedded across ministries, local government sectors, statutory agencies and within the community and voluntary sector. But in practice this has proved difficult to achieve. Attitudes and institutional cultures are often resistant to change. Partnership and participation: The government encourages working in partnership but institutional cultures are often resistant. Some local organisations have become disillusioned and frustrated, creating lasting damage to partnership relationships.Funding regimes need to adapt to the process orientation of cohesion work. They need to acknowledge how little is yet known about how to overcome segregation and prejudice in practice. Community cohesion has been hailed as the ‘new social policy agenda’, but it has yet to be fully embedded within Government departments and agencies that have responsibility for developing and implementing policy. Groundwork Northern Ireland has developed an innovative approach to regeneration work. This is based on a clear value base and a structured theoretical outline to provide a conceptual framework for its work. The organisation is involved in three broad types of project work:• Single identity work where, at least, the funder brings a vision of and an awareness about ‘others’ who are essential to building a shared society;• Single identity work with cross community contact with different ‘others’; and • Community relations fora where people from different traditions, identities and places meet and work together. Much of the work remains single identity activity, but there is a clear objective to build these relationships and to encourage groups to build contacts and working relationships with groups from the other community. The research indicates that the capacity of Groundwork Northern Ireland to undertake a wide variety of community cohesion work is based upon its solid organisational structure and ethos. This structure has been developed and reviewed over recent years, but remains an ongoing process. Among the most important elements of the organisational foundation are:• The engagement of the staff and the Board in developing a clear strategy; • The Board contains people from different traditions and social backgrounds; • A coherent statement of the organisational values and goals; • A clear framework for understanding the rationale of the varieties of work;• Acknowledgement of the potential risks for both staff and the organisation of undertaking ‘difficult’ work;• Provision of support for the programme of activity including an accessible organisational base and improved staff training and development; and • The ability and the capacity to deliver on promises and commitments.The process of establishing Groundwork Northern Ireland as an organisation capable of engaging positively within the community cohesion framework has taken time, discussion and effort. It has also created stresses and strains within the organisation. These are important considerations for Groundwork UK and for individual Groundwork trusts in assessing whether they should explore a similar trajectory.

    AB - Community cohesion has been developed as a key concept and policy framework in response to the riots and disorder that occurred in a numerous northern English towns during the spring and summer of 2001. A number of reviews and reports identified increasing levels of ethnic segregation and polarisation as key factors underlying the violence and the Government has since encouraged all local authorities to initiate comprehensive strategies to respond to this social fragmentation. In Northern Ireland segregation, polarisation and inter-communal violence have been key features of society for many years. However the transitional period of the ‘peace process’ since 1994 has created more space and opportunity for a variety of attempts to counter ethnic hostility, suspicion, fear and mistrust. During this period Groundwork Northern Ireland has developed distinctive models of work within the sphere of environmental regeneration to build better relationships and understanding between some of the segregated communities and to work towards improving levels of community cohesion. This report reviews the work of Groundwork Northern Ireland to assess the impact of its work and through so doing to assess the potential for the adoption of similar approaches to regeneration work by Groundwork in England and Wales. The review of developments in the north of England revealed that community cohesion remains a confusing and for some a controversial concept for many working within the sector. However, it has generated new thinking and practice and if it is seen as a process and not a project, then it can be said that a process has begun.There is now a body of practice around cohesion work, which reflects the multiplicity of potential approaches. These range from ‘celebrating diversity’ and building communication between communities and neighbourhoods, to projects aiming to build the esteem and capacity of poor communities. However, there have been a number of difficulties with implementing the cohesion agenda in practice, these include: Conceptual Weakness and Disagreements: The conceptualisation of the cohesion concept remains weak. For some practitioners that is a strength in that it allows space for creativity, but for others it perpetuates confusion and uncertainty. Embedding and Mainstreaming: The mainstreaming of community cohesion is a fraught issue at many levels. There is widespread recognition that promoting cohesion should be embedded across ministries, local government sectors, statutory agencies and within the community and voluntary sector. But in practice this has proved difficult to achieve. Attitudes and institutional cultures are often resistant to change. Partnership and participation: The government encourages working in partnership but institutional cultures are often resistant. Some local organisations have become disillusioned and frustrated, creating lasting damage to partnership relationships.Funding regimes need to adapt to the process orientation of cohesion work. They need to acknowledge how little is yet known about how to overcome segregation and prejudice in practice. Community cohesion has been hailed as the ‘new social policy agenda’, but it has yet to be fully embedded within Government departments and agencies that have responsibility for developing and implementing policy. Groundwork Northern Ireland has developed an innovative approach to regeneration work. This is based on a clear value base and a structured theoretical outline to provide a conceptual framework for its work. The organisation is involved in three broad types of project work:• Single identity work where, at least, the funder brings a vision of and an awareness about ‘others’ who are essential to building a shared society;• Single identity work with cross community contact with different ‘others’; and • Community relations fora where people from different traditions, identities and places meet and work together. Much of the work remains single identity activity, but there is a clear objective to build these relationships and to encourage groups to build contacts and working relationships with groups from the other community. The research indicates that the capacity of Groundwork Northern Ireland to undertake a wide variety of community cohesion work is based upon its solid organisational structure and ethos. This structure has been developed and reviewed over recent years, but remains an ongoing process. Among the most important elements of the organisational foundation are:• The engagement of the staff and the Board in developing a clear strategy; • The Board contains people from different traditions and social backgrounds; • A coherent statement of the organisational values and goals; • A clear framework for understanding the rationale of the varieties of work;• Acknowledgement of the potential risks for both staff and the organisation of undertaking ‘difficult’ work;• Provision of support for the programme of activity including an accessible organisational base and improved staff training and development; and • The ability and the capacity to deliver on promises and commitments.The process of establishing Groundwork Northern Ireland as an organisation capable of engaging positively within the community cohesion framework has taken time, discussion and effort. It has also created stresses and strains within the organisation. These are important considerations for Groundwork UK and for individual Groundwork trusts in assessing whether they should explore a similar trajectory.

    KW - Social cohesion

    KW - single identity

    KW - reconciliation

    KW - environmental regeneration

    KW - peacebuilding

    KW - conflict resolution

    KW - segregation

    KW - polarisation

    KW - interdependence

    KW - institutional cultures.

    M3 - Commissioned report

    BT - Changing Places-Changing Minds: Applying Learning from Groundwork in Northern Ireland,

    ER -