A NEW "anti-rumour" strategy in Bradford will aim to counter "diversity related prejudices" that can lead to people developing racist attitudes.

Bradford's Stronger Communities Partnership, a group that is chaired by Bishop of Bradford Toby Howarth, is in the process of putting together the strategy, and it will officially be launched during Hate Crime Awareness week next month.

At a meeting of Bradford East Area Committee this week members were told that the strategy would encourage people to adopt "critical thinking" and not believe rumours about other communities without question.

The partnership brings together voluntary, private and faith sectors to work to bring together communities that rarely interact with each other to improve social cohesion.

A report into the partnership says the Anti-Rumour and Critical Thinking strategy is "to raise awareness about the importance of countering diversity-related prejudices and rumours that hamper positive interaction and social cohesion and that lay the foundations of discriminatory and racists attitudes."

It has been sent to different political groups to be endorsed.

Efforts to bring communities together 'must not ignore people of no faith' - councillor warns

With social media becoming increasingly prevalent in society, it is increasingly common for rumours to spread to thousands of people before they are challenged.

In December a Facebook post claimed a man speaking "a foreign language" had attempted to abduct a three year old in The Broadway Shopping Centre, and that police had told the poster that numerous similar abductions had happened in the centre in a short space of time, but that they were unable to do anything about it.

It was shared thousands of times before police put out a statement saying there had been no such incident.

At Thursday's meeting the Committee was told that rumours about different communities could often lead to unfounded prejudices.

Zahra Niaz from the Partnership said: "It is important that we are able to take on rumours and dispel them, not just through myth busting but also through critical thinking and asking people to look at issues through different perspectives."

The partnership has also set up an "innovation fund" to provide grants to groups that aim to bring communities closer together.

The fund was set up "to respond to emerging needs and tensions, scale up smaller projects and test new ideas."

The projects are intended to engage all communities, but with a primarily focus on those in poorer deprived communities including White British, women, young people or new communities.

The first round of funding in May handed out £50,000, and another round of funding is due to start later this month.

Projects funded in Round One included Global Bradford, which was awarded £1,550 to "achieve solidarity and mutual understanding between all migrants" and "debunk myths about migrants to the wider community."

A project called Faith in our Communities was granted £4,519 to "promote dialogue and understanding between the leaders and congregations of places of worship and LGBT communities."

And the Great Horton Ambassadors project was given a grant of £4,899 to improve relations between the Roma and non-Roma communities in Great Horton.