Father Phil says much has been done to improve community cohesion with schools bringing children from different backgrounds together and people finding more opportunity for them to mix with those of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
It has reduced the BNP vote considerably with no candidates standing in the local elections and the number of people in Oldham who say that they get on well with people of different ethnic backgrounds increasing.
In the aftermath of the chaos, Father Sumner says the most important achievement was to develop a clear strategy for the voluntary and faith sectors based on identity, engagement and equality. He said: “Unless one feels valued as an individual, one does not take on the values of the wider society. So, to nurture a sense of belonging to Oldham, or Britain, people need to feel first that their particular identities are valued.” Work was done in schools to nurture different identities and create programmes for interaction.