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Centre for Citizenship and Community

Established in 2013 in partnership with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and in collaboration with the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics, the Centre for Citizenship and Community is concerned with research approaches that are co-produced, and with building research evidence that emphasises the importance of working with community capacity and assets. It brings together UCLan academics and external expert associates passionate about tackling social injustice and enhancing the social connectedness and health of communities.

In a context shaped by the recent circumstances of the pandemic, the importance of human relationships and social value has emerged as fundamental in considering community and the dimensions of community connection. This involves a focus on empowerment and agency in the nurturing of cooperative citizenship in community. To provide for additional expertise and experience in this area the CCC has established close ties with the Centre of SME Development (Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise (LSBE)) enabling on-going research to be informed by existing links with the community wealth building project known as the Preston Model, and its development in bridging economic and social divides through forms of cooperation.


If you would like more information please contact:

Prof David Morris - Director Eden Building, Room ER309, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE 01772 895461 |

Dr Julie Ridley - Co-Director Eden Building, Room ER324, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE 01772 893402 |

Jez Buffin - Business Planning & Development Lead (Academic enquiries) Eden Building, Room ER317, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE 01772 895408 |


Connected Communities and Covid-19

  • CIE0121 - The impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services Suzanne Wilson and David Morris 
  • The Community Connectors Response to Covid-19 Julie Ridley
  • Child Poverty: The impact of COVID-19 on families in West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum West Cumbria
  • A wasted opportunity to achieve a greener, connected community? Jez Buffin 
  • We Don’t Need No Education: Coronavirus and the Battle for Our Children’s Welfare Jez Buffin
  • A Slice of Normal - How one little note brought a street together in a time of lock down Dr. Sarah Shorrock
  • Action for Youth Citizenship - A moral imperative Suzanne Wilson
  • Viral Connectivity - research for a new politics of community Prof David Morris 
  • ESOL and Covid-19: Developing community capital in times of disconnection Grete Smith
  • In the same storm maybe, but not in the same boat - who will pay the price for recovery from Covid-19? Jez Buffin 
  • Coronavirus aftermath: How do communities recover from trauma? Suzanne Wilson 
  • Response to Parliamentary Select Committee on the impact of COVID-19 on Left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds: Call for Evidence  Suzanne Wilson


Making social housing social – by Steve Broome

"Over the last few years the Centre for Citizenship and Community has been working with social housing provider Orbit on how to build not just houses, but communities. I’ve been privileged to have worked with Orbit and Centre colleagues on this project, and ahead of a seminar on Active Citizenship, Belonging, and the Role of Housing Providers, this blog gives a summary of some aspects of the work"


The Centre uses a Connected Communities approach, created in response to the growing need for the study and development in practice, of effective community approaches to engaging communities and working with the assets and value that they represent; an approach which combines community based - participatory research methods and social network theory.

Through co-produced research that takes a ‘citizen social science approach’ – that is, involving people in various ways in designing, doing, interpreting and disseminating research - we provide support for policy, research, learning and local practice in community engagement and social inclusion. Our vision is of services that are designed to integrate, in everyday practice, the value of social and community assets and networks in achieving wellbeing and inclusion outcomes. We do this by combining our expertise with that of a network of associates and other university partners to work with service organisations and communities, across the spectrum of social policy areas and public service settings.

Our principles are: change through networks; social value capture; organising for inter-dependence and a culture of co-operation. The nature of our research is participatory involving people as ‘community researchers’ and ‘citizen scientists’; reflexive and qualitative, mixing methods as required; diverse in context and participation; and practice focused.

Connected Communities theory of change:Understand, Involve, Connect

We suggest that ‘community capital’ can be grown through a way of working that follows the Connected Communities principles of Understanding the local situation, relationships and patterns of isolation; Involving people in creating solution(s); and aiming to Connect people to one another to reduce isolation and create more connected communities.

Our body of community-focused work considers personal and community connections, providing a basis for learning about whether and how people are engaged in, contribute to, or are supported by their communities and how they feel about these processes and the communities of which they are part. Our varied portfolio of work includes engaging with residents in local areas, health and social care, housing, ageing and dementia, mental health, learning disabilities, young people, policing, and social cohesion.

The Centre’s approach sheds light on the social fabric of society – the nature and patterns of ‘social capital’, investigating social isolation and loneliness and the importance of community connections to individual and community wellbeing. Impact of an approach for participating individuals and communities has been identified across four key outcomes: wellbeing, capacity, citizenship and cost (Parsfield et al, 2015). An ongoing programme of commissioned research and development work since 2010 with communities (both local and communities of interest) has resulted in positive outcomes for individuals and the development of ‘community capital’, leading to stronger, more connected communities. Strategic impact is frequently cross-generational and includes impacts on both policy and practice.Connected CommunitiesConnected Communities


  • Working with community researchers and local stakeholders, our aim is to produce accessible, applied research identifying what people are to each other in communities and the resources they rely upon. Examining social connections and ties and producing evidence in co-production with local people supports development of strategies that enhance community capacity.
  • Our research programme supports better understanding of patterns of social isolation and loneliness and the health and wellbeing of communities, contributing evidence about the impact of these on individuals and communities, leading to greater involvement and bespoke solutions to local issues.
  • Connected Communities research undertaken with diverse communities has provided residents with access to advice, information and training, identifying local venues to support connections, thereby enabling people to have a real stake in the sustainable regeneration and renewal of neighbourhoods. Community led projects (e.g. Come Dine with Neighbours in Sandwell, West Midlands) have brought people together to share commonalities and have become a substantive feature of community landscapes; building bonds across cultural divides. Others have resulted in development of mutual support networks in response to research findings (e.g. a support group for and by single mothers, Murton, East Durham).
  • Bridging social capital to work across social divides: through disseminating and sharing knowledge of existing activities in areas, participation has increased and reduced ‘silo’ working practices. The impact of this work has been in development of programmes to provide residents with access to advice, information and training while providing local venues for all communities to become more confident in connecting, thereby, to have a real stake in sustainable regeneration and renewal locally.
  • Community capacity building in areas of high social disadvantage through the Connected Communities programme has resulted in high levels of voluntary participation by community organisations and residents, and positive impacts for both community members and stakeholder groups. Participation has led to intrinsic benefits for individuals, such as increased wellbeing and self-confidence, greater community resilience with reductions in health service costs.


  • As a result of our community engagement approach, community participants have reported life changes associated with playing an active part (having genuine personal agency) in the research process and through the results of subsequent interventions, enabling measurable gains in citizenship and capacity.
  • Our research has impacted on levels of volunteering, for example, among single mothers in the North East of England. Community groups in several areas including Preston have subsequently been constituted as community organisations, enabling residents to continue working together to increase connections between neighbours and to advocate for their local area.
  • The findings on loneliness, social isolation, the significance of place connectivity and belonging from an international study (ODESSA; 2015-18) are being used to define key social network components of an ‘ageing-in-place’ framework for the UK, China and France, promoting positive impacts for older citizens and families.
  • Our community based participatory research approach has supported children’s and young people’s citizenship. In areas of high levels of inequality and disadvantage, school students as researchers have become real change agents in their communities (e.g. West Cumbria). Findings have been used to shape a local youth-led inter-generational community change project.
  • Based on the Centre’s reputation for community based participatory action research through Connected Communities, in 2018 we became a key partner in an international consortium exploring the potential of ‘citizen social science’ for developing emancipatory research methods with young people and fully involving them in policy and practice.

Policy and Practice

  • Our body of work directly influences policy making through disseminating results to national, regional and local policy networks, and involvement in key groups putting policy into practice. This includes contributions to high level advisory groups e.g. the Office of Science Foresight Programme on Health Equalities; sub group for analysis of evidence for policy on ageing (2015); Academy of Medical Science and Health Foundation on developing a new trans-disciplinary curriculum for Public Health (2018). The Centre has contributed to curriculum development on person centred practice in psychiatry for the Royal College of Psychiatry.
  • Our approach involves working in close partnerships with commissioners and other organisations as well as communities to co-produce knowledge, involving them in feeding back the results and developing appropriate interventions. Findings from our Connected Capital research led to the incorporation into the ‘Think Ahead’ fast-track programme for mental health social workers of a module based on systemic practice with networks and communities.

Knowledge Generation and Dissemination

  • We aim to publish our research in relevant formats for different audiences. Reports of our research for commissioners are shared publicly as far as possible, and we aim to publish the findings in appropriate peer reviewed academic journals.
  • The Centre runs a monthly seminar series. Launched in 2019, Communities of Change presents a varied programme of seminars attracting diverse audiences from within and beyond the university, focusing on key issues including communities in control, loneliness, and co-production delivered by an engaging range of external and internal speakers.
  • Researchers in the Centre are regularly asked to deliver papers at conferences and in other settings nationally and internationally. This has resulted in trans-disciplinary and international networks which have led to funding applications and publications.
  • Centre members are involved in the teaching and learning activities in the School of Social Work, Care and Community, including teaching on research methods and post-graduate supervision in the university.

Seminar Series: Communities of Change

Scroll or swipe on small screens to see all table columns

Date Speaker Theme Title Slides
13 February 2019 Prof Pam Qualter (University of Manchester) Loneliness and young people Loneliness does not discriminate: Loneliness across the lifespan

Watch the seminar

27 March 2019 Prof David Morris (UCLan) and John Hannen (Ambition for Ageing) Loneliness and older people Shaping our research ambitions for age friendly neighbourhoods: How community can best support innovative approaches to ageing

Watch the seminar

24 April 2019 Steve Pool (Artist) and Prof Kate Pahl (Manchester Metropolitan University) Co-production of knowledge The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Co-production: Thinking Critically About Co-production

Watch the seminar

29 May 2019 Dr Manjit Bola (UCLan), Katherine Jubb (Community Researcher) and Dr Julie Ridley (UCLan) Community Researchers Communities Connected: Exploring experiences of lay or community researchers and the potential for creating ‘community capital’

Watch the seminar

26 June 2019 Suzanne Wilson and Cllr Emma Williamson Co-production of knowledge Cultivating Citizenship through Connected Communities: Challenging Intergenerational Loneliness through Youth Led Co-Production  
24 July 2019 Jez Buffin Co-production of knowledge Co-production and Community Control: The Quest for the Holy Grail

Watch the seminar

30 January 2020 Alex Smith Intergenerational communities Measuring inter-generational community connections: impact evaluation in the age of new power

Watch the seminar

View the blog

26 February 2020 Hári Sewell Mental health and race Approaches in mental health that validate people’s experience of personal and systemic racism

Watch the seminar


Ridley, J. & Morris, D. (2018) Preston Connected Communities Project: A study of the social and community networks of residents of Broadgate and Hartington. Preston: Centre for Citizenship and Community.

Wilson, S. (2018) Connected Communities with Cumbria Constabulary: Promoting Community Capital in Vulnerable Localities. Project Report. West Lakes: Centre for Citizenship and Community.

Morris, D., Bola, M., Broome, S., Graham, M & Sewell, H. (2018) Connected Street Associations. A study of the social and community networks of residents of Kingstanding, Birmingham to identify local needs and improve wellbeing. Year 1 Report. Preston: Centre for Citizenship and Community.

Broome, S. (2016) The Missing Million: In Search of the Loneliest in our communities. London: Campaign to End Loneliness

Broome, S. (2016) The Missing Million: A Practical Guide to Identifying and Talking about Loneliness. London: Campaign to End Loneliness.

Parsfield, M., Morris, D., Bola, M., Knapp, M., Park, A., Yoshioka, M., & Marcus, G. (2015) Community Capital: The Value of Connected Communities. Project Report. London: RSA Action and Research Centre. In CLOK

Bola, M., Coldham, T., & Robinson, Z. (2014) A study of personalisation and the factors affecting the uptake of personal budgets by mental health service users in the UK. Preston: Centre for Citizenship and Community/Mind.

Morris, D., Ridley, J., Sewell, H. & Robinson, Z. (2014) An Investigation of Kirklees' strategy of community investment as a contribution to positive social impact and long term financial savings. Preston: Centre for Citizenship and Community.

Neumark, T, Norris, E., Marcus, G. & Broome, S. (2012) The Community Footprint: Shared value for business and communities. London: RSA.

Dellot, B., Marcus, G. & Broome, S. (2012) ChangeMakers: Identifying the key people driving positive change in local areas. London: RSA

Marcus, G., Neumark, T. & Broome, S. (2011) Power Lines. London: RSA.

Broome, S., Rowson, J. & Jones, A. (2010) Connected Communities How social networks power and sustain the Big Society. Technical Report London: RSA.

Journal Articles

Webber, M. P., Morris, D., Howarth, S., Fendt-Newlin, M., Treacy, S. & McCrone, P., (2018) Effect of the Connecting People Intervention on Social Capital: A Pilot Study. Research on Social Work Practice. DOI: 10.1177/1049731517753685

Kidd, S.A., Frederick, T., Tarasoff, L., Virdee, G., Lurie, S., Davidson, L., Morris, D. & McKenzie, K. (2017) A Qualitative Description of Community Service, Business and Organization Perspectives on Mental Illness and Inclusion. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation . ISSN 1548-7768 (In Press) Item availability may be restricted.

Kidd, S.A., Frederick, T., Tarasoff, L., Virdee, G., Lurie, S., Davidson, L., Morris, D. & McKenzie, K. (2016) Locating Community among People with Schizophrenia living in a Diverse Urban Environment. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation. 19 (2), 103-121. ISSN: 1548-7768.

Thomas, P & Morris, D (2016) Community-oriented collaboration for mental health care and mental health promotion [Editorial]. London Journal of Primary Care, 8 (1). pp. 1-2.

Thomas, Paul and Morris, David (2016) Integrating primary mental health care and mental health promotion. British Journal of General Practice (BJGP), 66 (643). pp. 60-61. ISSN 0960-1643

Webber, M., Reidy, H., Ansari, D., Stevens, M. & Morris, D. (2016) Developing and modelling complex social interventions: introducing the Connecting People Intervention. Research on Social Work Practice, 26 (1). 15-19. ISSN 1049-7315.

Newlin, M., Webber, M., Morris, D., & Howarth, S. (2015) Social Participation Interventions for Adults with Mental Health Problems: A Review and Narrative Synthesis. Social Work Research, 39 (3). pp. 167-180.

Thomas, P. & Morris, D. (2015) A network of activists for community-oriented integrated care - Editorial. London Journal of Primary Care, 7 (6). 107-108. ISSN 1757-1472. In CLOK

Webber, M., Reidy, H., Ansari, D., Stevens, M. & Morris, D. (2015) Enhancing social networks: a qualitative study of health and social care practice in UK mental health services. Health and Social Care in the Community, 23 (2).

Other Papers

Slavin, W. & Wilson, S. (2019) CHILD POVERTY: The Impact of Poor Housing on Children’s Life Chances. Project Report. (Unpublished)

Morris, D., Wylie, R. & Wilson, S. (2018) The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century. House of Lords, London.

Wilson, S. (2018) Child poverty: making a difference in your community. Cumbria Community Foundation.

Wilson, S. & Morris, D. (2017) Community Capital: The Value of Connected Communities. In British Psychological Society Community Psychology Festival 2017 Papers. Bristol.

Wilson, S., Morris, D. & Wylie, R. (2017) Response to House of Lords Select Committee for Citizenship and Engagement Call for Evidence (CCE0157). House of Lords Website.

Morris, D., & Gilchrist, A. (2011) Communities Connected: Inclusion, Participation and Common Purpose. RSA Pamphlet.

Meeting in Brussels to develop Citizen Social Science bid to tackle social inclusion

Julie Ridley and Suzanne Wilson from the Centre for Citizenship and Community travelled to Brussels in January 2020 to work with academics from eight European countries on a bid responding to the SwafS–27-2020 call for hands-on citizen science and frugal innovation. The consortium led by Oslo Met came together to consolidate plans for the submission, which proposes to use Citizen Social Science to research social inclusion and achieve social change. Focusing on working with ‘seldom heard’ young people across Europe, including young migrants, case study sites in 7-8 different countries will develop innovative, youth-led solutions to societal challenges regarding social inclusion. Other institutions involved were the lead University, Oslo Met (Norway), University of Vienna (Austria), Aalborg University (Denmark) University of Deusto (Spain), Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Sweden), Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania), University of Nepals (Italy), Environmental Social Sciences Research Groups (Hungary), and the Spotteron Citizen Science platform.

Suzanne Wilson at the Westminster Events ConferenceTackling Child Poverty: The Way Forwardon Tuesday 13th November 2019

Hosted in Central London’s ‘etc events’ at Hatton Gardens, the Tacking Child Poverty event aimed to bring together key stakeholders from across the sectors to provide an overview of the impact of child poverty, the impact of government policies and how the public sector is working to improve outcomes for children. This timely event took place where figures show that 70% of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one person works, with childcare and housing costs taking the biggest toll on families’ budgets.

Alongside representatives from the Children’s Commissioner’s Office, the Social Mobility Commission, Child Poverty Action Group and The Children’s Society, the chair of West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum (WCCPF) Willie Slavin and the Centre’s Suzanne Wilson were invited to share findings from collaborative conversations between social housing associations, local authorities and third sector organisations.

As a result, organisations in West Cumbria have pledged to work together to improve children’s outcomes including reviewed referral procedures and an institutional commitment to support families facing hardship. The WCCPF’s work contributes to the national conversation surrounding policy and practice relating to child poverty.

UCLan West Lakes Campus launches West Cumbria’s first ever Social Science Festival!

Pupils from St Begh’s and Monkwray junior schools celebrated their communities this week. The event was sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council and was one of 450 events taking place across the UK, which raise awareness about how social science affects everyday life.

A ‘Celebrating Connecting Communities’ event was held at The Beacon Museum in Whitehaven on Monday (November 4) which brought pupils together with researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to raise awareness of the role and impact of social sciences.

Research centres from across the Schools of Social Work, Care and Community got together to deliver different hands-on methods workshops including community-mapping, using artwork to express feelings and photo-voice. All the workshops gave the children tasters of ways to involve people in thinking about their communities.

Delivered by Dr Julie Ridley and Suzanne Wilson from the Centre for Citizenship and Community, Bob Walley from the Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership and Dr Deborah Crook from the Centre for Children and Young People, these sessions aimed to encourage the pupils to think critically about their community and ignite a passion for social science and social action.

Organiser Suzanne Wilson, Research Fellow in Social Inclusion and Community Engagement at UCLan said:

"It was a privilege to work alongside such enthusiastic young people who have so many exciting ideas to help strengthen their community. I hope we have introduced the idea of going to university to study social science and inspired the next generation of young social scientists of the future!"

Alan Gillon, Learning Officer at The Beacon Museum, said:

£It was a fantastic opportunity for the Beacon museum to host the “Celebrating Connected Communities” event with UCLan. The museum is at the very heart of the community, and through the museum collections we are able to tell the stories of the diverse local community we have in West Cumbria, from thousands of years ago to the present day. The event has helped to break down the barriers around Social Science and challenged the pupils to think about their landscape and local community."

The CCC's Girls Gang Scoops Award!

A Connected Communities research project in Whitehaven, Cumbria, has won a Golden Apple Award for ‘Best Community Initiative’. Girls Gang, a community research group composing nine twelve year old girls, was nominated by the Elected Mayor of Copeland, who was inspired by the girls’ passion and commitment to their local community.

Girls Gang conducted doorstep surveys asking residents for their views about their community, their social networks, and their health and wellbeing. They presented their results at a number of local community events and also to the head of Social Work at UCLan in Preston. The results are now being used to inform a number of new local projects, such as Youth Connectors, where children and young people will design and deliver a number of connectivity projects for the older generations.

Inspired by learning about community research, Girls Gang decided they wanted to take action to help their local area, and led a number of social action projects including a litter campaign, bullying awareness film, fundraising activities and regenerating the community garden at St Peter’s Community Hall. They have also worked with colleagues at Copeland Borough Council to help develop their Children’s Charter, which is the council’s promise to ensure that children are at the forefront of decisions on policies that may impact on them.

In his nomination, Mayor Mike Starkie praised the work of Suzanne Wilson from UCLan and Emma Williamson, County Councillor for the area who collaborated in this project:

“Emma and Suzanne have provided new and enriching opportunities for children in an area where almost half are experiencing poverty. Children growing up in areas facing these difficulties often miss out on enriching opportunities, and Girls Gang has provided these children with the chance accomplish things that otherwise would not have been able to.”

Girls Gang continue to meet and to take positive action to help their community. It now operated under West Cumbria Community Action Trust, a new charity set up to meet the needs of the community identified through the research.

West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum Seminar: The Impact of Housing on Children’s Well-being

The Centre of Citizenship and Community have been actively involved in West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum (WCCPF) since Suzanne Wilson joined the team in 2017. Chaired by Willie Slavin, the West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum (WCCPF) exists to ensure that child poverty remains high on the agenda of every service that works with vulnerable families. Social housing, as an issue for WCCPF emerged from a Roundtable event in 2017, prompting this latest event which sought to discuss the benefits of collaborative working between professionals from the housing and family service agencies.

An event on the impact of housing on children’s well-being was held on 21st June 2019 at UCLan’s West Lakes Campus bringing together local authorities, housing associations, children's services and academics to explore collaborative ways to work together in the best interests of the most vulnerable children. The event was supported by Trudy Harrison MP (Copeland) and Sue Hayman MP (Workington) who attended in person. Aidan Worsley, Professor of Social Work at UCLan chaired the event, and Dr Julian Manley, Enterprise and Innovation, ignited delegates’ imaginations about the ‘Preston Model’ and co-operative working, which had been highlighted at the original Roundtable. The event resulted in a number of positive actions being pledged by all parties involved and serves as an example of how the University works to benefit local communities.

24th April 2019The Dementia Manifesto

We are delighted to introduce the recently published book co-authored by Toby Williamson, Associate of the Centre for Citizenship and Community. proposes three key principles and a new perspective to view dementia, and calls for a shift in thinking and practice in dementia care, and in the wider society perception of dementia.The Dementia ManifestoThe Dementia Manifesto

Further information on this publication is available here

'Child poverty is at a 20-year high – but in one English community, children themselves are intervening' 15th April 2019

Research Fellow in Social Exclusion and Community Development Suzanne Wilson has written her first article for The Conversation. , has been read 557 times since it was published on Monday 15 April. .‘Child poverty is at a 20-year high – but in one English community, children themselves are intervening’Read the article

Suzanne Wilson at the Public Policy Exchange Symposium ‘Tackling Child Poverty: Building a Positive Future for Britain’s Youth’ on Tuesday 5th March 2019

Hosted in Central London’s De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms and chaired by Baroness Philippa Stroud, Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, the event aimed to draw together local government officials, charities, benefit authorities and other key stakeholders to discuss the state of the current Child Poverty Strategy. This timely event took place at a time where child poverty rates are rising, which now disproportionality are affecting working single families. The symposium saw contributions from All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty members including Baroness Ruth Lister, alongside Claire Ainsley, Executive Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group. Suzanne Wilson represented the Centre for Citizenship and Community, describing how a Connected Communities project in West Cumbria resulted in children contributing to real policy change on a local level. The new measurement of poverty introduced by the Social Matrix commission was discussed, alongside different policy agendas in tackling poverty, such as Universal Credit, re-distribution and ‘making work pay’. The event provided a platform to share research and best practice in obstacles and opportunities in combating child poverty, and encouraged debate challenging the rhetoric around the ‘poverty of aspirations’, calling for an approach in the media and elsewhere to acknowledge the structural causes and implications of poverty.

The Centre for Citizenship and Community at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the ODESSA (Optimising Care Delivery Models to Support Ageing-in-Place) Symposium on 1st March 2019

Led by Professor Karim Hadjri, and funded by national Research Councils in each country, the ODESSA study is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK; Tsinghua University in Beijing, China; Université Paris Dauphine and Université Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique / Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne in Paris, France. Together, academics from partner institutions carried out important work to study how an increasing ageing population can be supported now and in the future to age well in their own homes. (see )ODESSA study report

Thanks to funding from Sheffield University, the Centre for Citizenship and Community continues to disseminate activity from ODESSA (2018) helping to broaden and build cross-sectoral understanding of its findings; exploring the impact and possible implications of the findings for policy and practice in both UK and China contexts. This symposium gave us a further opportunity to do this with particular reference to the related key policy themes of trust, belonging, loneliness and inter-generational approaches.

The 2019 symposium focused on the findings from three of the study’s six work packages including that on Connected Communities led by Prof David Morris. This aspect of ODESSA had sought to contribute a specific understanding of the role that social and community network membership and activity plays in advancing effective ageing-in-place models. Informed by the learning from our five-year community-based action research collaboration with the RSA, the work package drew on two key principles: deliberative community engagement and social network analysis: assessing the potential for engaging communities in effective and inclusive models of social care delivery to support healthy ageing, taking account of the different policy contexts of the three partner countries. David Morris summarised selected research findings, focussing on those relating most closely to the themes of the symposium: loneliness, trust and belonging.

Suzanne Wilson contributed particularly to the symposium’s consideration of inter-generational perspectives on ageing, presenting her work in West Cumbria on the involvement of children and young people as community researcher. Informed by the findings that older people were most vulnerable to social isolation and that youth provision is lacking in the area, a new project 'Youth Connectors' has recently been funded which introduces innovative ways of bringing older and younger people together, building on the capacities of both groups.

More information about the Connected Communities projects underway in West Cumbria can be found on their Facebook page.

Attendees at the symposium committed their continued support for, and involvement in the agenda for healthy ageing-in-place looked at through an interdisciplinary and intergenerational lens. Tweets from the event - - revealed a positive response to the day and an enthusiastic level of engagement with its aims: showed the day was filled with excellent presentations and discussions about ageing well in place! Sam Scharf from Orbit housing commented that, “social networks could be better enhanced through community participation. Housing associations have a role to play here”.

UCLan’s ‘One Health’ Strategy enthusiastically received at national RCGP event in London

A UCLan delegation representing the Vice-Chancellor’s office has recently attended a meeting of the Community Oriented Integrated Network (COIN) hosted by the Royal College of General practitioners in London.

Chaired by UCLan's Professor David Morris, the meeting focused on Professor Paul Thomas' compelling and thought-provoking presentation from his new book on collaborations for health. Professor Thomas' presentation, based on his extensive experience as a GP and activist in creating and facilitating transformational change in community primary care, set the scene for discussion of the kinds of changes needed in developing primary health care with, and for communities and the many sectors of community life that contribute to health and wellbeing.

As a national and international network of many hundreds of individuals, established under the auspices of the London Journal of Primary Care, COIN has been actively involved with Professor Thomas as the Journal's Editor in Chief in developing and publishing on this agenda. The meeting provided the opportunity for announcing UCLan's role as its new host. Janice Horrocks, UCLan's 'One Health' Consultant provided a summary of UCLan's holistic perspective on the elements that contribute to local population health and discussed how different departments within the University play a role in health and health education.

The importance of multi-disciplinary work in health care delivery and the education curriculum were highlighted, alongside the impact on health outcomes in practices where GPs and nurses are together involved in research. The 'One Health' vision entails recognising that prevention, education, tackling inequalities and empowering individuals and communities to generate solutions to improve health and wellbeing are key dimensions in understanding health needs and developing the future workforce.

At the meeting, the 'One Health' strategy was warmly received and commended by Professor Mayur Lakhani, President of the RCGP as a unique and innovative approach to transforming lives and improving health outcomes. In his words, UCLan's strategy is 'very exciting and timely as it supports the NHSE agenda on Integrated Care Systems'.

Attendees committed their continued support for, and involvement in COIN as a means of contributing to the success of One Health and the University's developing primary care curriculum as well as the public health and primary health care agenda more generally.

by Grete Smith at 02/08/2018

The Centre for Citizenship and Community in Ningbo, China in April 2016 presenting work on Connected Communities as part of the ODESSA study

On 21st April 2016, following the ODESSA (ageing in place programme) events at Tsinghua University with colleagues from France and China, David Morris and Manjit Bola travelled from Beijing to Ningbo in southern China’s Zhejiang province with colleagues from Tsinghua to launch ODESSA’S Connected Communities work package in China. The initial meeting hosted by senior local government officials and community leaders, provided for a discussion on the context of community activity in Ningbo led by the lead for older people’s services in the city and a presentation by David on the Connected Communities study and its team’s proposals to use the approach to understand the role and potential of community networks in Ningbo as part of the ODESSA programme.

The meeting was joined for David’s presentation by older people from communities closely linked to two of the older people’s service, or community centres in the city. David, Manjit, together with the lead for the work package in China, Professor Pei and her colleagues then visited the two communities and their centres. Great enthusiasm was expressed for the programme and the scope for understanding the value of connectivity embodied in work with older people which in Ningbo is concerned with local inter-generational voluntary support matched to person and need and with forms of continuing life-long learning opportunities.

Supported by David and Manjit, Professor Pei and her team will now go on to develop the fieldwork tools and community research approach with local people in order to complete the Chinese fieldwork for the Connected Communities work package during the remainder of 2016.

The Forum exists to highlight and improve the plight of those children in our community who live with the harmful consequences of poverty. The WCCPF came together in response to a growing concern, voiced in Parliament by the then MP Jamie Reed about the incidence of child poverty in the local community. This led to the publication of a Review of Child Poverty in West Cumbria in November 2010. The report, well received at the time, particularly in the public and voluntary sectors, has recently been updated to take account of the continuing economic downturn and the effects of welfare reform. It is a matter of the greatest concern that gains made over recent years in redressing the balance have gone into worrying reverse.

For those agencies who make up the Forum’s membership, and who have sought to grasp the complexity of the problem as a prerequisite of transformative action, the group’s engagement with University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and their Centre for Citizenship and Community is proving immensely valuable. The developing interest in action research among constituent organisations, able and willing to promote postgraduate study, is taking this particular collaboration to another level.

Who we are

WCCPF is an un-constituted group of professionals from a range of sectors, who meet periodically to share information surrounding child poverty on a local, national and international level. There is representation from Allerdale and Copeland Borough Councils, Cumbria County Council Children’s Services, Howgill Family Centre, Barnardo’s Allerdale, Impact Housing and UCLan.

What we do

The aim of the Forum is to share information and expertise and raise the profile of child poverty in West Cumbria, keeping the issue at the forefront of the public and the statutory services. We do through annual public events, usually in the form of roundtable discussions, and the publication of reports. The Forum has presented at a number of national conferences and symposia in London, extending the impact of its work from a local to a national policy level.


When created in 2013 in partnership with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the Centre for Citizenship and Community in the School of Social Work, Care and Community was founded on shared values, growing research evidence about social isolation and loneliness, community capacity building and asset-based approaches, as well as tacit knowledge. The Centre brought together UCLan academics and expert associates passionate about tackling social injustice and enhancing the social connectedness and health of communities. This makes the basis for our research somewhat different from conventional models, with much of our work having an impact through its process as well as the outputs and outcomes achieved – a reflective process that needs to be capable of change.

Our key shared principles are:

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Change through networks; social value capture; organising for inter-dependence; and a culture of co-operation.

The nature of our research is participatory, reflexive and qualitative, while mixing methods as required; diverse in context and participation; practice focused and often focusing on social networks. The Centre’s ‘Connected Communities’ theory of change is designed around growing community capital through three key principles - .understanding, involving and connecting

The Centre’s growing body of work studies personal and community connections to learn about if, and how people are supported in their communities and how they feel about living in their local area. It has been widely established that social connections are key to health and wellbeing, to healthy ageing and to achieving citizenship. Mapping social networks and analysing these community connections can inform planning, design and development of community projects/activities/initiatives to help improve health and wellbeing. The varied research portfolio of Connected Communities projects has so far included engaging with residents in local areas, health and social care, housing, ageing and dementia, mental health, learning disabilities, young people and policing, and social cohesion.

Our Mission

We want to be known for doing research that makes a difference. Over the next five years we seek to expand our approach to measure the impact of social programmes designed to increase citizenship and participation of, for instance, people from diverse communities, as well better understanding how programmes, such as social prescribing, work to tackle social isolation and loneliness in our cities, and what difference they make. The policy context is both ambitious and fast moving. Nationally and internationally there is increasing focus on asset-based approaches, recognising that what individuals and communities do for themselves and one another has a significant impact on their health and wellbeing. Various initiatives have been set up that aim to cultivate ‘social capital’, and the social connections that lead to neighbourliness and civic engagement. Such approaches shift power and control from public services and professionals to the community and those who are seldom heard. Consequently, there is a need to better understand the benefits, including the cost-benefits of the shift to a ‘community paradigm’. At the same time, our approach continues to be one that adopts an analytical and critical policy perspective.

Research Questions

Our interests are broad and the research questions our work seeks to answer therefore potentially cover a wide range of social policy and public service issues which include:

  • How is the community capital represented in networks best developed and mobilised?
  • How do we understand what configurations of community capital are needed for individuals and communities, in what contexts and for what outcomes?
  • How do we evidence the impact of community engagement on health inequalities?
  • How do we understand the impact of engagement on civic participation and citizenship?
  • How can connected communities support democratisation and community wealth building?
  • Which approaches to engagement best serve the empowerment of communities?
  • How are the limits of community and individual responsibility to be defined?
  • How should we frame our view of the relationship between individual and community level interventions – what should we measure and how?
  • What are the economic benefits of investing in building social relationships and connecting communities?
  • Considering the impact of socio-economic and political factors on public service provision, how is the role of the public servant to be constructed? What are the implications for forms of co-design and co-production?
  • What are the implications of national shifts in views of ‘the other’ for diversity and mental health and how do we respond?
  • In relation to mental health, what criteria should determine how we focus and weight research between illness and wellbeing; service user experience and ‘universal’ notions of community health?

Strategy Aim and Objectives

Our aim is threefold: to increase the research undertaken, enhance its impact, and, further develop its theoretical potential.

We work from founding principles of:

  • (imaginative community networks are key to social action);change through networks
  • (community engagement is imperative to local empowerment and to unlocking the social value – the unseen assets – of community);social value capture
  • (building from ‘the multiple practices of reciprocity’;organising for inter-dependence
  • (public service organisations with a ‘literacy of community’ working alongside communities, collaborating in the use of shared assets.embedding co-design and production

And from a theory of change with three dimensions:

Understanding > Involving > Connecting

Our key objectives are to:

  1. Conduct research that further develops the relevance of social connections and their value for professional, curriculum and leadership development;
  2. Engage wider policy stakeholders and inter-disciplinary collaborations;
  3. Develop and locate the work of the Centre within contemporary discourses.

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Name of organisation Description Web link Relationship

Citizens UK

Home of community organising in the UK, organises communities to act together for power, social justice and the common good.

Citizens UK Website

Dr Julie Ridley is involved as partner in the development of ‘Preston Citizens’.

(C4CC)Coalition for Collaborative Care

National partnership organisation for health and care policy to help make person-centred care for people with long-term conditions a reality.

Coalition for Collaborative Care Website

Prof David Morris and Dr Julie Ridley are involved in C4CC partners meetings contributing on community perspectives on social prescribing and personalisation.

- Royal College of General PractitionersCommunities of Integration Network (COIN)

National collaboration of Royal College of General Practitioners for integrated, community primary care, learning, development and innovation.

London Journal of Primary Care

Prof. David Morris is co- Chair of COIN.

(LGA)Local Government Association

The national voice of local government, working with councils to support, promote and improve local government.

Local Government Association Website

Dr Julie Ridley contributes to the LGA work on integrated community wellbeing.

(PSSRU) at London School of EconomicsPersonal Social Services Research Unit

Conducts high quality research on social and health care to inform and influence policy, practice and theory.

PSSRU Website

Research partner for Connected Communities study (2010-15); CCC founding collaborator in 2013 to present.

Policy Network

A thinktank that works with a wide range of organisations to widen and strengthen the scope of policy research and debate, aims to promote progressive thinking on major social and economic challenges of the 21st century.

Policy Network Website

Policy and dissemination partners.

Power to Change

A national movement to run business for and by local people supports community businesses delivering health and social care.

Power to Change Website

(Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)RSA

Shares powerful ideas, carries out cutting-edge research and builds networks and opportunities for people to collaborate, helping to create fulfilling lives and a flourishing society.

RSA Website

Research partner for Connected Communities study (2010-15); CCC founding collaborator and policy dissemination partner since.

(Royal Society for Public Health)RSPH Independent campaigning and educational charity dedicated to improving and protecting people’s health both in the UK and internationally. RSPH Website Prof David Morris and Dr Julie Ridley are members of a national Advisory Group guiding development of a ‘Community Spirit’ framework for organisations.

School of ArchitectureSheffield University

Research partners on designing for wellbeing, connected communities and housing in older age; established for ODESSA (Optimising Care Delivery Models to Support Ageing-In-Place) study, 2016-18, co-funded by ESRC (UK), ANR (France) and NSFC (China).

Sheffield University Research Website

CCC is a long term academic collaborator on transdisciplinary research on ageing.

(TLAP)Think Local Act Personal

A national partnership of more than 50 organisations committed to transforming health and care through personalisation and community-based support.

Think Local Act Personal Website

CCC is a member.

International Centre for Mental Health Social ResearchYork University,

Prof. Martin Webber at York University led the NIHR SSCR Evaluation of the Connecting People Intervention Pilot Study and Trial. Prof David Morris was Co-Investigator.

York University Research Website

CCC is a long term academic collaborator on the Connecting People (CP) research programme. Currently Prof David Morris and Dr Julie Ridley are collaborating on a community enhanced social prescribing research programme.


(Preston City Council).Developing community capacity through a Connected Communities approach in Plungington, Preston -

with Lancashire BAME NetworkEvaluation of the Impact of the Reaching Communities Project in Lancashire –

Intergenerational intervention for loneliness in older people - Academic supervision (Cares Family).The Cares Family:

developing a practicable strategy for community level Social Prescribing, Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS)Community perspectives on Social Prescribing -

supporting self-evaluation, NW England (Big Lottery).‘Building Bridges’: Community Cohesion project Pendle;

in 15 People’s Health Trust sites across UK developmental support for Local Conversation process, (Peoples Health Trust).Peoples Health Trust ‘Local Conversations’

Research across Cumbrian white, working-class, coastal communities in collaboration with Cumbria Constabulary (Samuel Lindow Foundation). Current sites: Barrow (Young people who use the existing youth groups provided by Dropzone); Workington (Police and fire cadets, young people who use the existing youth groups provided by South Workington Youth Partnership). Completed sites in Woodhouse (Purposely formed community youth council, ‘Girls Gang’) and Mirehouse (Primary school group).Empowering citizenship in young people –


- developing a mental health community connectors programme with Solent MIND, in two sites in Hampshire, (Hants County Council).Community Connectors

with Sheffield University, Tsinghua University, China and Université Dauphine, France, (Economic and Social Research Council).ODESSA: 3-year international study on ageing in place

, (Preston City Council).Developing community capacity through a Connected Communities approach in Preston City


(Street Associations) developing evidence base for Street Associations in Kingstanding, Birmingham, (NHS Better Care Fund; Clinical Commissioning Group).‘Connected Street Associations’

in Foleshill, Coventry with Orbit Housing to enable housing–led community engagement, (Orbit Housing).Housing and Community


research with York University: implementing team-based social work training intervention for improved service user community inclusion outcomes, (School for Social Care Research, National Institute for Health Research).Connecting People

in partnership with Ipsos MORI (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).Evaluation of impacts of national Mental Health and Adult Learning pilot programme


, researching and strengthening relationships within communities. A project in partnership with the RSA and LSE (Big Lottery funding)Community Capital – The Value of Connected Communities

; assessment of integrated approach to Personal Budget uptake (MIND).Personalisation

Connected Communities based care pathway for people with Long Term Conditions; feasibility project (North Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group).


- evaluating older people’s community-funded services in Kirklees, (Kirklees Council).Prevention and Community Resilience

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