Five years after the race riots in the town, Professor Cantle has reviewed how much progress has been made. He told BBC Radio Four's Today programme: 'The divisions in Oldham are still very entrenched and segregated housing and segregated schools are probably at the top of the list.'
Oldham MBC has taken active steps to get the Asian and white communities to know each other better, for example 'twinning' schools in different parts of the town.
'Breaking down the barriers is definitely the right way to go,' Mr Cantle told Today. 'We can't enforce mixing, we can't bus children from one school to another, but the sorts of projects that have been undertaken have undoubtedly improved the situation'.
He said: 'A lot of credit goes to civic leaders who have taken these programmes forward.' Many good voluntary projects had also helped.
He thought race relations had improved and there was much less risk of the riots happening again. But more work needed to be done with the communities, he said, particularly where community leaders were reluctant to see any change.
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