24 May 2013
A new Centre for Citizenship and Community is to examine how public services might engage with local communities in order to promote co-operation, equity, inclusion and well-being.
Established by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), with the Royal Society for Public Health and the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics, the Centre, directed by UCLan’s Professor David Morris, will provide support for policy, research, learning and local practice in community engagement and social inclusion.
Launched this week at the RSA, the Centre will be guided by the practical approach set out by Connected Communities, a five year RSA/UCLan project that has piloted local interventions for achieving health, well-being and inclusion via enhancing the power of social networks.
The Centre for Citizenship and Community will draw on the resources and knowledge of its partner agencies including the RSA Fellowship, in order to examine policy implications for health and social care services, and other fields such as housing, criminal justice, drugs and alcohol services, arts and culture and Higher and Further education.
"This is a partnership for innovation; for enabling a new appreciation of communities and of public services designed to reflect the real value of community connection for inclusion and opportunity."
The Centre will offer a ‘connected communities approach’ in all service settings where it is required, including dedicated support for community engagement in:
Commenting on the launch UCLan’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rod Dubrow-Marshall, said: “This is a partnership for innovation; for enabling a new appreciation of communities and of public services designed to reflect the real value of community connection for inclusion and opportunity.
“With the challenge of engaging communities in the public policy spotlight, the Centre for Citizenship and Community is well placed to meet this effectively through the integration of shared learning, practical research and innovative practice that is so much part of UCLan's contemporary vision and approach.”
"The partnership we have developed in the new Centre for Citizenship and Community offers new ways to address these challenges and opportunities, and can help to transform how we design and deliver public services and social support."
Steve Broome, RSA Director of Research, commented: “If we are to prosper, socially and economically, in the face if austerity, we need new ways of understanding, growing and mobilising the significant assets and relationships that exist in our communities, and in our public, voluntary and private sector institutions. Further, we need to consider and work with our communities as networks and help to weave these networks to become more inclusive and socially productive.
“The partnership we have developed in the new Centre for Citizenship and Community offers new ways to address these challenges and opportunities, and can help to transform how we design and deliver public services and social support.”
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “The RSPH is pleased to support the new Centre for Citizenship and Community. We believe that community development is at the heart of addressing health inequalities as well as improving well-being at all levels of society. Only such a bottom-up approach, where individuals come together to mobilise their joint assets and are provided with support and encouragement to take responsibility for their own health behaviours, can we build a society that fosters wellness and resilience.”