Current projects

Evaluation of the Bedfordshire VERU

Undertaking a process evaluation of the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU).  The work explores the role of lived experience, trauma-informed approaches, community-capacity building, organisational partnerships, and data sharing in reducing violence and exploitation.

Completed projects

Integrated health and social care

Working with a consortium of local voluntary sector organisations, we are developing an integrated model of volunteering in the health and social care system for Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainable Transformation Partnership.

Ageing in recovery

Working with CGL Tameside, we are undertaking research for Ambition for Ageing with people aged 50+ from Tameside who are in recovery from drug and alcohol problems exploring their ‘ageing in recovery capital’ and how different aspects of identity shape how people experience ageing in place.

Living Smart Homes and Digital Buddies

We are undertaking an evaluation of the DCMS-funded Living Smart Homes and Digital Buddies pilot, exploring how digital technology supports independent living and wellbeing for older people and people with disabilities in West Essex.

Ageing in Connected Communities

We are working with the Centre for Ageing Better on scoping out a new Connected Communities programme to help increase the proportion of people aged 50 and over who feel they strongly belong to their neighbourhood. The work is based on stakeholder interviews with people from national charities, local government, think tanks, research organisations, and service providers, and a review of recent grey literature.

Building Connected Communities

Working with the Centre for Citizenship and Community at UCLan we are helping Orbit Group to understand their communities as networks of social assets and to design ways in which local people can feel more included and supported in their neighbourhoods.  The 3-year project includes working in a pilot site, training Orbit staff alongside local tenants in this approach, and providing a detailed ‘how to’ guide to assist Orbit in rolling out the approach across communities in which it has housing stock.

Community Connectors

Working with the Centre for Citizenship and Community at UCLan, we are developing teams of local ‘community connectors’ with Solent Mind in Fareham, Gosport, and Hythe.

The work is part of Hampshire
County Council’s Supportive Communities Programme, and
this test project aims to show how a range of social outcomes can be co-produced with local people, and how the approach can inform the design and delivery of public services across the County.

The project is being evaluated by
New Economics Foundation

Personalising care in community

Working with the Alzheimer’s Society to explore how to improve personal outcomes for people with dementia and their carers in ways that are rooted in and enabled by the social, local community context of their lives.

Dementia Capital Networks

We worked with two localities as part of the national Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) programme, both of which focus on people with dementia.  In Luton, we worked with the Luton Disability Resource Centre, Luton Borough Council, and Luton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and in Lincolnshire, we partnered with the local Alzheimer’s Society and the Lincolnshire IPC Team.  In both sites, we developed new ways of building supportive community attachments and experiences for people with dementia and their carers.  Our approach helped to understand and grow the personal, social, community and cultural resources that help people to live the lives they wish to live and are capable of living.

The Missing Million: A Practical Guide to Identifying and Talking About Loneliness

For the Campaign to End Loneliness we provided a report on the methods being used to identify and engage with people experiencing loneliness, and produced a practical guide for commissioners, service providers, front line workers and volunteers aimed at helping them to identify and engage older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, loneliness.  Read the report and access the guide here.

Community Builder Pilot

For the Council for Voluntary Services Uttlesford and local clinical commissioning groups, we evaluated a pilot community builder initiative aimed at reducing loneliness among older people.

Connected Preston

Working with the Centre for Citizenship and Community at UCLan and Preston City Council, we helped community researchers, other local residents and a range of local organisations to understand how people access formal and informal support through their social resource networks, and how local stakeholders could bring about more inclusive, supportive resource networks.

Connected Streets

Working with the Centre for Citizenship and Community at UCLan and Street Associations, we helped Birmingham Better Care to support carers and other potentially isolated individuals by understanding how hyperlocal neighbour networks of care, support, and street-based activities can be developed.

The project explored the psychosocial factors that stop people becoming more active local citizens and tested the development of street networks in practice.

Social Networks for Social Work

For the Think Ahead programme led by the University of York with experts from the University of Central Lancashire, we designed and delivered training sessions on how Mental Health Social Workers can better understand individuals’ social environment and how this helps and/or hinders their mental wellbeing.

Digital Storytelling for Urban Development

Supporting the Digital World Research Centre at Surrey University to capture the learning from a bold and innovative project to discover how digital storytelling might contribute to community engagement for urban redevelopment.  The project explored how stories of personal memories, culture and identity, captured through digital technologies, could inspire and add value to urban design.

Digital Economy Communities and Culture Network: A review

The CCN+ programmed aimed to understand the digital transformation of communities and culture through practice-based research, community engagement, collaborative projects and empirical research.  Our review explored the impact of selected projects funded by the programme and whether the very concept of community has changed in the advent of the digital.

Understanding Efficacy

With the RSA and Pearson we explored the concept of efficacy: the ability of a policy, programme, or project to have an intended, measureable impact on someone’s life, an organisation, or situation.  Through a series of expert seminars and case studies, the project examined the components and processes of efficacy in understanding and responding to both linear and complex problems.