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ELREC: Research Project - £5000

The main objectives of ELREC are: To work towards the elimination of discrimination in all its forms. To reduce inequality and promote a culture of human rights. To promote good relations between persons of protected characteristics without distinction on grounds of race, gender, gender identity, marital status/civil partnerships, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion and pregnancy and maternity. To promote and organise cooperation in the achievement of the aforesaid purposes and to that end to bring together in ELREC, representatives of the statutory authorities and voluntary organisations engaged in the furtherance of the aforesaid purposes within the Local Authority Council areas of the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian.

This research project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of social mixing activities in creating social cohesion between migrant and non-migrant communities in West Lothian. Some minority communities find it difficult to integrate fully in this context due to a lack of cultural exchange and a meaningful relationship with the host communities, leading to creating mistrust, misunderstanding, structural inequalities and racial discrimination. This research offers to establish links between various service providers, organisations, groups and community members and will also enable them to interact meaningfully with groups of people from different backgrounds. Such interactions can lead to bringing communities together, building a trusting relationship and raising awareness and celebrate differences to promote and improve social cohesion.

This research project will be conducted in three different phases. The first phase will involve focus group discussions with partner organisations, groups and community members. The second phase will involve study groups. In the final phase, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with study groups so the project coordinator will have the opportunity to follow up on any questions they may have on how the social mixing activities impact people's social relationships, their perceptions and an in-depth understanding of how such relationship improve social cohesion. This project will help areas like West Lothian increase understanding of the community relationship between migrant and non-migrant groups and evaluating how social mixing activities can create an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to mix and interact positively. The findings may also inform and provide practical interventions to local authorities and national policymakers to create meaningful social cohesion and reduce racial discrimination and structural inequalities.