Breaking Boundaries Birmingham with Near Neighbours' Rabiyah Latif

Breaking Boundaries is a three-year programme (2018 –2021) funded by Spirit of 2012, supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and The Institute of Community Cohesion (Icoco).

We sat down with Rabiyah Latif from our Birmingham based Community Partner organisation - Near Neighbours, to talk all things Breaking Boundaries and Community Cohesion!

  1. How did you get involved with community cohesion and what attracted you?

My interest and journey in this field of work started some 15 years ago whilst I was working in Banking Litigation.I developed an interest in wanting to work in communities as they quickly started to evolve as new waves of Migration became apparent in the City.


  1. How do you support Breaking Boundaries?

I advise and liaise with the Edgbaston Foundation connect, to support the programme.  We share the activities being hosted with our network in their chosen areas. 

We are also inviting Breaking Bounderies to consider hosting a Place of Welcome and accessing Near Neigbours to enhance the engagement between people of different backgrounds.  We believe that conversations around social action and equalities, build friendship and long term cohesion in community.


  1. What would you say has been the most valuable impact or learning you have seen as a result of the cohesion work you have done?

During the past 4 years at Near Neighbours, our network of community leaders has grown from strength to strength due to some of the current and challenging conversations we have enabled for people to come together and talk about the things that matter to them.  These include hosting round table discussions between local leaders & MHCLG civil officers around hot topics like Brexit, local grassroots level conversations between neighbours to improve communities through our Real People, Honest Talk programme.  On the ground, people simply need to make time to talk and understand one another.


  1. What do you feel your community needs more of to help people from different backgrounds mix together and create a sense of belonging?

I feel as though the time has come where we need to address issues of history, language and race for people to be able to really move forward together in society.  Near Neighbours will be focussing on building some engagement around the equalities agenda to tackle these themes in Birmingham next year.



  1. How does Breaking Boundaries play a role in that?

We hope to build our programme with our partners and will invite our Breaking Boundaries colleagues to be involved in how they can support such conversations in their areas.


  1. What has been your most inspirational moment in the cohesion work you have done?

I am always inspired when I meet the people in communities who we do our work for.  I am able to access groups through activities and events and always make time for a chat and a cup of tea when I visit.  The stories local people share always inspire me to keep growing projects that inspire change in thought and heart.


  1. What key teachings have you learnt/and/or delivered through your work?

Equalities and Cohesion through respects and understanding is the foundation for all the work I get involved in


  1. If you had to describe your experience of Cohesion in Birmingham in three sentences what would you say?

Whilst there is work do be done in some areas of the city through building stronger local partners, there are lots of shining examples of work going on all the time around Birmingham which keeps the cohesion conversation live and kicking.