Bexley is set to benefit from a range of community initiatives following a successful bid for government funding. It will help the borough gain more up-to-date information on the make-up of the local population and support community events and initiatives designed to foster good relations between existing and new residents.

London Borough of Bexley worked on the bid with its partners the Royal Central School for Speech and Drama and Bexley Voluntary Service Council. They succeeded in securing £819,000 for their ‘A Place for Everyone’ programme, to help ensure that Bexley is a place where different people can work and live well together, for the benefit of everyone.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Teresa O’Neil OBE, welcomed the success of the bid: “This is good news for the borough and shows how seriously we take our responsibility to ensure that Bexley is a place at ease with itself, with an engaged population and integrated communities, where everyone feels they belong and can get on in life.

“This funding will help us access more up-to-date information to understand how the borough is changing, adapt our services to meet changing demands and fund activities to bring different communities together.”

The three-year grant is a part of the second round of allocations from the Controlling Migration Fund, set up by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The fund is designed to support local authorities to better understand and respond to population changes resulting from regional, national and international migration.

It will help support the development of stronger communities in the context of the borough’s emerging Growth Strategy. It will be used to develop community building activities with local groups and to improve the effectiveness of local services.

Community building activities will centre on new migrant communities, as well as existing communities, using shared public spaces. The programme will aim to increase understanding and awareness of rights, responsibilities and expectations, increase all communities’ contributions to Bexley’s economy, increasing civic participation and people’s sense of belonging.

The Council will manage the programme and provide expert support for groups and community projects that can contribute to making it a success.