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Spanish delegates visit Southwark

Published Thursday, 26 March 2015


Southwark Council this week welcomed delegates from Madrid City as they visited the borough to learn more about how people in Southwark get along together.

About eight delegates from Spain were on a two-day study visit to Southwark to see how Southwark, one of London’s most diverse boroughs, foster good relations between people from different communities.

The group visited the council offices at 160 Tooley Street to meet with Deputy Leader Cllr Ian Wingfield who leads on communities and the Mayor, Cllr Chopra and to hear about the different approaches the council takes to promote cohesion and integration in communities.

The delegates took part in different interactive workshops on how the council celebrates diversity and creates opportunities to support residents from different backgrounds.

They were taken on a borough tour and they attended a community council meeting to see democracy in action.

They also visited Southwark Works and the Citizens Advice Bureau to see first-hand how these organisations operate and to gather useful tips to take back to their country.

Southwark is part of an EU exchange project called 'Upstream' which looks at how EU nations have mainstreamed community cohesion projects.

As a dynamic and diverse borough with over 300 different languages spoken, Southwark is seen as exemplary because of its Beacon status for the outstanding work it does in communities.

Councillor Ian Wingfield, Cabinet Member for Communities, Employment and Business, said: "We are delighted to welcome delegates from Spain to Southwark. This is a great opportunity to not only share our success stories but to also exchange knowledge and learning, and to hear from them about how they think we are doing."

Elisa Brey, Researcher at University Complutense of Madrid, said: "I found it interesting to learn from Southwark about promoting social cohesion in a diverse environment. I am particularly pleased to learn that children in Southwark are doing better educationally than in many other parts of the country and that linguistic wealth can have a positive impact."

The trip was organised by COMPAS, the migration research centre at the University of Oxford.

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