‘Parallel Communities, What’s the Problem?’


Professor Ted Cantle and the Rt Hon Jack Straw debate in depth about the importance of inclusion and cohesion

On Wednesday 20th September, Blackburn Youth Zone invited guests from across the community to attend a very special event, hosted by Rt Hon Jack Straw and Professor Ted Cantle.

The event was a huge success which saw Professor Ted Cantle and the Rt Hon Jack Straw debate in depth about the importance of inclusion and cohesion within the Blackburn with Darwen community, and what if anything, we could be doing more of?

The event brought together over 100 people from the community, including leaders from the business, education, public, voluntary, community and faith sector.
Hannah Allen, Chief Executive of Blackburn Youth Zone said; “Our Borough is a vibrant and diverse place, made up of different races, cultures, beliefs and attitudes. Our people, location, character and assets are what make the Borough a great place to live, work and visit. We have a good story to tell on social integration and community cohesion. Like many organisations, Blackburn Youth Zone believes that bringing communities together is important for young people, business and the community. We are grateful to our Chairman RT Jack Straw, whose dedication and commitment to the town has helped this debate come alive, by exploring the issues and solutions with Professor Ted Cantle CBE.”

“We are proud be to part of such a diverse and strong community, with our partners and supporters feel it is our mission to aid a socially integrated town. We recognise and are committed to progressing our work to ensure everyone in all communities get the best start in life and are supported to reach their potential.”

The borough has been recognised for it’s efforts in creating shared opportunities in the past, such as the National Festival of Making earlier this year, and as demonstrated at our event by the truly inspiring young people’s Peace Charter, that was presented on the night of the event by a number of very talented young people from across the community.



Rt Hon Jack Straw

Rt Hon Jack Straw spoke about; “The diverse cultures & heritage seen across the borough and how the differing communities not only here but across the world tend to live close by each other – and that no democratic government could or should direct where people should live. Instead, we should celebrate the area’s rich diversity, and all the positive efforts being made by partners, businesses, local authority and the voluntary, community and faith sector to bring people from all communities naturally together.”
Although Jack and Ted disagreed on the policy tools to aid cohesion, they are both incredibly passionate and focused on making a change for the better, and together are working towards one goal, an inclusive and cohesive community for all.

Hannah Allen ended with; “For me and many I have spoke to in the past week, the event has created momentum around the importance of Social Integration. Blackburn Youth Zone endorses the draft Social Integration Strategy for the Borough and invites all business and sectors to show their support by responding to the draft strategy consultation (available at http://bit.ly/bwd-dsis ).  Please forward event feedback to Ismail.Hasham@blackburn.gov.uk and by tweeting us using #onecommunity.”