Yesterday Councillor Paul Fisher and I were the honoured guests at an event staged by the Tamil Community Centre (TCC) in School Road, Hounslow to mark Refugee Week.
Having enjoyed a wonderful meal and an exquisite display of cultural dancing (above left), the forty or so people present could have been forgiven for dozing off, or heading off, when the time arrived for the anti-climax which my speech must surely have been, but instead both I and Councillor Fisher, who had joined me in his capacity as Lead Member for Community Engagement, were very well received.
Like RETI, the TCC is a superbly organised group seeking to achieve Community Cohesion through tackling areas of disadvantage, in the TCC's case those experienced by members of the small Tamil community in Hounslow. It provides access to health, education and a positive social environment, and has done so thus far without even asking the local authority to financial assistance in any form.
It is groups like TCC and RETI which I envisage forming the backbone of our proposed cohesion forum, which will enable organisations to work together, and with the local authority and other strategic partners, with a view to creating conditions that will assist in the building of Community Cohesion in our borough.