News / Building Understanding in Walsall

Building Understanding in Walsall

News / Blog

F&BF Communications

04 / 05 / 21

By Jaishree Patel

Back in the days before lockdown, we had the luxury of having face to face community dialogue sessions with participants across Walsall. It almost feels like a dream now to think it was possible to all participate in a social activity before a session (such as artyoga, or cookery), have the session, and then top it all off with a leisurely lunch together. The participants who took part in our two pilot groups had the good fortune of having this experience. One of these groups, recruited from the Department of Work and Pensions, met at Ryecroft Community Hub in Blakenall, North Walsall. 

Over the course of three dialogues, participants from this group, who were from England, Romania and Poland engaged in dialogue sessions exploring their identities, their heritage, and their experiences of living in Walsall. English participants were able to learn about fellow participants’ reasons for and experiences of migrating to Walsall. Likewise, by the end of the third session, all the participants had built up enough trust to be able to talk about which areas in Walsall they did and didn’t feel welcome in in the context of racial demographics and their communities’ experiences of racism. Participants welcomed the opportunity to talk about these sensitive topics as these types of conversations were deemed to be taboo with people fearing judgement for expressing their opinions. Participants were able to empathise with one another’s experiences and the discussion moved on to how most people, regardless of their background, ultimately want a better life for themselves and for their families.  

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