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Ground-breaking report shows the value of connected communities

03 November 2015

Chris Theobald

Research by academic staff has contributed to the publication of a ground-breaking report

 

Research by academic staff within UCLan’s School of Social Work, Care and Community has contributed to the publication of a ground-breaking report on the true value of UK communities by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Published on 29 October, Community Capital: The Value of Connected Communities, is a result the Connected Communities programme, a five-year collaboration involving UCLan’s Professor David Morris and Dr Manjit Bola, the RSA and the LSE.

The report details the findings of practical research in seven communities around England to explore the value of social networks. It warns the Government against assumptions of simply cutting back the size of the state and expecting ‘communities’ to spontaneously bloom and deliver the aims of the Big Society or to make up for funding shortfalls in the NHS.

 

“The study used UCLan’s long established community engagement methodology to enable community members to research networks within their own communities."

Talking about UCLan’s involvement in the report Professor Morris said: “The study used UCLan’s long established community engagement methodology to enable community members to research networks within their own communities, together with social network analysis to support people’s understanding of the potential of these networks.”

The study reveals how, as community capital these networks:

• are positively associated with improved skills, employability, health (which has positive economic impacts) wellbeing and inclusion;

• can create savings in health and welfare expenditure but equally:

• have value that can only be unlocked through adequate levels of public service investment and:

• the engagement of public service organisations and staff in enabling it.

The official RSA press release can be read here.

Additional information

The Connected Communities approach is being taken forward by the Centre for Citizenship and Community – UCLan’s ongoing partnership with RSA, together with the Royal Society for Public Health and LSE

Already adapting the Connected Communities approach for use in a diverse range of public policy areas including, for example, the study of ageing in place.  The Centre offers research, development and consultancy wherever the approach can benefit communities through engagement and service improvement.

For more information on Connected Communities and the Centre for Citizenship and Community: David Morris, Director: dmorris1@uclan.ac.uk or Ellen Dobson, Administrator: Edobson@uclan.ac.uk