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Dr Julie Ridley

Reader Applied Social Sciences, Director of Centre for Citizenship and Community
School of Social Work, Care and Community
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Julie researches across a range of social justice topics. With expertise in policy implementation and participatory research involving service users and carers, as well as community members, Julie's work has influenced mental health and social policies, and led to collaborations with community and civic organisations. Julie also supervises postgraduate students whose projects span participatory connected communities approaches in mental health and the impact on green and blue spaces, the impact of place on loneliness for young people, implementation issues of Transforming Care, the impact of user and carer involvement in teaching nursing students, and understandings of social care in post colonial islands.

As Reader in Applied Social Sciences at the University of Central Lancashire Julie has researched, taught and published widely on a range of topics from Supported Employment and learning disabilities, to Direct Payments and Self-Directed Support, independent advocacy and outcomes, mental health law, trans ethnic adoption, and communities and co-operation. Julie has conducted qualitative and mixed methods and evaluative studies in health and social contexts, with a particular emphasis on understanding the reality of implementation of policies on people's everyday experiences and on health and social care services. As Director of Centre on Citizenship and Community Julie leads connected communities studies with communities, supporting community researchers and identifying locally based solutions. Julie leads the Work Package for the implementation of the multi-case study across nine countries for the three year EU Horizon study YouCount, which started in February 2021. This involves young people as Citizen Scientists researching community belonging in Preston using innovative creative methodologies and a living lab approach to social innovation.

Julie has a background in social care, having supported people with learning disabilities in the community between 1982-1985. Becoming national Project Officer for the British Association of Social Workers was the start of an applied research career. Julie worked in local government research, planning and information technology within Scotland for over 15 years; as researcher and evaluator for private and independent sector research companies; and was a self-employed research/evaluation consultant for three years and commissioned by amongst others the Scottish Government, Department for Health to undertake both local and national policy research and evaluation. Joining the University of Central Lancashire in 2006, Julie joined the Social Work Department and taught social work and social policy students at undergraduate and post graduate levels.

  • PhD Social Work and Social Policy, University of Edinburgh - Variations on a Theme: Quality of Life and Supported Employment for People with Learning Disabilities, 2000
  • BA (Hons), Applied Social Sciences, Preston Polytechnic, 1982.
  • Communities
  • cooperatives
  • impact of social networks
  • social and community capital
  • participatory research, co-creative approaches
  • community belonging (adults and young people)
  • social prescribing
  • social inclusion
  • supported employment
  • family carers
  • self-directed support
  • place and loneliness
  • impact of service user and carer involvement in education.