Centre for Citizenship and Community

Centre for Citizenship and Community

Contact Details

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 | DMorris1@uclan.ac.uk

Dr Julie Ridley - Co-Director
Eden Building, Room ER324, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE
01772 893402 | JRidley1@uclan.ac.uk

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

Ellen Dobson - Research and Business Administrator (Administrative enquiries)
Eden Building, Room ER326, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE
01772 894364 | EDobson@uclan.ac.uk

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 in the School of Social Work, Care 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.

Expertise and Subject Areas

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

Connected Communities theory of change

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 Connected Communities 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 a Connected Communities 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.


  • 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.

Publications and Outputs

Seminar Series: Communities of Change

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

View the slides

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

View the slides 
View the second slides

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

View the slides

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

View the slides

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

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24 July 2019 Jez Buffin Co-production of knowledge Co-production and Community Control: The Quest for the Holy Grail

View the slides

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.


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. 

West Cumbria Child Poverty Forum SeminarWest Cumbria Child Poverty Forum SeminarAn 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.

The Dementia Manifesto
24th April 2019

We are delighted to introduce the recently published book The Dementia Manifesto co-authored by Toby Williamson, Associate of the Centre for Citizenship and Community. The Dementia Manifesto 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.

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. ‘Child poverty is at a 20-year high – but in one English community, children themselves are intervening’, has been read 557 times since it was published on Monday 15 April. 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

Public Policy Exchange Symposium

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.


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.

RIBA Presentation

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 - https://twitter.com/Odessa_Ageing - 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

David Morris

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.

CCC Seminars at UCLan

Date Presenter(s) Theme Title of Seminar

24 July 2019

Jez Buffin and the People’s Health Trust

Working with communities

Engaging marginalised communities through the People’s Health Trust Programme. (provisional)


Professor David Morris, Director, School of Social Work, Care and Community

Dr Julie Ridley, Co-Director, School of Social Work, Care and Community

Jez Buffin, Business Planning & Development Lead, School of Social Work, Care and Community

Dr Manjit Bola, Community Research & Learning Development Lead, School of Social Work, Care and Community

Suzanne Wilson, School of Social Work, Care and Community, West Lakes

UCLan Members

Grete Smith, Faculty of Health & Wellbeing

Ismail Karolia, School of Social Work, Care and Community

Dr John Wainwright, School of Social Work, Care and Community

Dr Stephen Gethin Jones, School of Social Work, Care and Community

Shelley Briggs, School of Social Work, Care and Community

Emeritus Professor Chris Heghinbotham


Steve Broome – Associate Co-Director
Steve’s expertise is in research, evaluation, and social innovation. His interests are community development, social networks, mental wellbeing, substance misuse, criminal justice, and local economic development. He set up the Connected Communities programme while at the RSA, testing social network and asset-based approaches to community development and public services.

Hári Sewell - Associate
Hári has a wide range of operational and strategic leadership experience in health and social care. He is a social worker by background with 20 years’ experience. Hári has held a number of senior roles within social care and the NHS, most recently Executive Director for Organisational Development in an inner-city Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Karen Linde - Associate
Karen has held senior appointments in academic and development contexts (mainly the NHS) with responsibility for the design of large scale change initiatives, improvement, evaluation and research activities. She is working at strategic levels with policy, workforce and engagement issues for the public sector and related evidence gathering, briefing and evaluative activity.

Carey Bamber – Associate
Carey has worked in health and social care settings for 25 years in a wide range of organisations and roles covering third sector, public services, arms length bodies, and more latterly she works as a freelance consultant. Carey started her career working in advice services, supporting people with mental health problems, and establishing a resettlement service for homeless people in Manchester.

Zoe Robinson – Associate
Zoe has worked as a forensic health care assistant at West London Mental Health Trust and managed mental health and ex-offender projects for Stonham Housing Association. Zoe was seconded to the Social Exclusion Unit to contribute to their mental health project, providing advice on front line issues and led on several policy areas.

Christa Drennan - Associate
Christa is an accredited psychotherapist with an MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Christa has a wide range of academic, policy, commissioning and operational experience and knowledge. Christa leads on substance misuse and dual diagnosis services for a London NHS Trust, with responsibility for three tier 3 prescribing services for drug users and two prescribing services for alcohol addiction.

Joanna Hicks - Associate
Joanna has a background in social work, community engagement, marketing and public relations. She is an experienced manager in both private and public sectors, the latter including academic and practice roles. For the past 10 years she has focused on mental health and substance misuse issues.

Dr Fabian Davis - Associate
Fabian is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working for Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. He manages the psychological therapies service for people with complex mental health issues and is lead for social inclusion in the London Borough of Bromley. He has worked in the NHS for 35 years as a clinician, service co-developer and researcher.

Tina Coldham - Associate
Tina has been a mental health service user for many years, and is still a practicing depressive! She became a user activist through setting up self-help groups, and also being part of a local successful campaigning user group. This has led to wider regional, national and international strategic involvement with SCIE and INVOLVE. Her areas of expertise include user involvement, co-production, personalisation, survivor research, peer support.  Tina holds a PG Certificate in Strategic Social Care Leadership.

Catherine Wilton - Associate
Catherine is a former Department of Health (DH) Advisor on social capital and now runs Making the Connections consultancy. She set up the Building Community Capacity project for DH, now part of the Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) Partnership, bringing together councils, think tanks, national provider and third sector organisations to share and develop approaches to building social capital.

Toby Williamson - Associate
Toby is an independent consultant working in the fields of adult and older people’s mental health, dementia, mental capacity, and safeguarding. For many years Toby has worked in and managed research, evaluation, practice and service development, and policy work. For the last 10 years he has particularly focused on dementia promoting the rights of people with dementia and their families through the DEEP initiative.

Kathryn James – Associate

To follow

Additional Information

Our Connected Communities approach invites research questions in multiple, related fields of inquiry. 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?
  • In light of 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?

ongoing links and project collaborations

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’.

Coalition for Collaborative Care (C4CC)

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

CCC is a partnership organisation, contributing specifically on community engagement.

Communities of Integration Network (COIN) -  Royal College of General Practitioners

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.

Local Government Association (LGA)

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

Local Government Association Website

Policy and dissemination.

Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at London School of Economics

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


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

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.

Sheffield University School of Architecture

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.

Think Local Act Personal (TLAP)

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.

York University, International Centre for Mental Health Social Research

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

Centre for Citizenship and Community is a long-term academic collaborator on the Connecting People (CP) research programme and current research on synthesising CP with Connected Communities.

Projects and Research Programmes


‘Supports for Success’: Connected Communities input to young people in communities programme, Toronto (Ontario Government).

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

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

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

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

Empowering citizenship in young people - intergenerational citizenship in West Cumbria (Samuel Lindow Foundation).

Policing in Cumbria: Connected Communities as an approach to support multi-agency hub-based policing (in development; Samuel Lindow Foundation/Cumbria Police).


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

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

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


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

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


Connecting People 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).

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


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

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


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