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Inclusion and Engagement

The School of Social Work has considerable expertise at working with so-called hard to reach groups, using highly creative and innovative methods to facilitate full participation.

SpeakOut is a national network of more than 80 diverse and marginalised communities. Facilitated and managed by the University of Central Lancashire, SpeakOut was established to give diverse and marginalised communities a voice in the regulation of health and social care and to assist the Care Quality Commission in the discharge of its statutory duties.

Between 2000 and 2010 the University of Central Lancashire recruited and trained more than 1,000 lay individuals to take part in community engagement projects as part of the Department of Health's Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care action plan and as part of the Department of Health's Black and minority ethnic community substance misuse needs assessment programme.

The School of Social Work has worked with Gypsy and Traveller communities to improve mental health services in Bolton training and supporting nine Gypsy Travellers as part of a participatory research project. It recently undertook an equality review on behalf of NHS Leeds in partnership with nine marginalised communities to explore the differences in satisfaction levels with access, experience and outcomes across minority ethnic, faith and LGB and transgender groups.

The School has used its methodology to work with groups of refugees, offenders, minority faith groups, LGB groups, older people, young people, people with mental health problems and substance misusers.


  • Department of Health
  • Home Office
  • Greater London Authority
  • Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council
  • NHS Leeds
  • Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust
  • Care Quality Commission


  • Improvement in service provision
  • Establishment of strong and sustainable links and partnership between hard to reach groups and commissioners/service providers
  • Improvements in health and well-being
  • Social inclusion