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Who are we?



CAEC is based at the Manchester Campus of Manchester Metropolitan University. The centre undertakes participatory research, evaluations, training and education programmes with a wide range of groups and organisations including Local Authorities, Health Care Trusts, the Private Sector, Voluntary Organisations and Community Groups.

This is often carried out through a process of accredited training with group participants. CAEC has developed a specific, participatory approach, which was utilised by the pilot programme of the Home Office national pilot project of Active Learning for Active Citizenship (ALAC). The Centre is currently one of the lead partners on the Take Part Pathfinder programme in Salford, and one of the lead Universities in the ESRC Capacity Building Research Cluster, Takingpart

The work of CAEC is underpinned by a commitment to:

  • Participation
  • Anti Discriminatory Practice
  • Community Development
  • Inclusion
  • Capacity Building
  • Emancipatory Research
  • Informal Education
  • Self help
  • Ethical practice e.g.confidentiality

Click on a heading below for more details

Research and the Community 

CAEC uses participatory action research and evaluation methods which ensure that members of the community are involved throughout the process of the investigation, from planning and design to implementation and evaluation, reporting and making recommendations. This allows for the sharing and development of skills, community and agency capacity building, and community owned outcomes. Differing approaches are devised in collaboration with the participants to ensure they are appropriate for them as well as to respect, recognise and celebrate diversity and difference. Our approach utilises a variety of group work methods e.g. focus groups, workshops and forum theatre.

Our participatory approach has the ability to build the capacity of groups or individuals within communities. The aim is that the process gives a sense of ownership to the community, and its findings, which in turn leads to an investment in the outcomes. The focus is on giving people a voice in and about their communities and ideally drawing out opinions from those who are not typically heard. Participants can gain confidence in themselves, their skills and knowledge and their community networks. They can also receive training and accreditation from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Examples of work undertaken:
  • South Manchester Healthy Living Network, training the 'Discovery team' to identify the requirements of volunteers.
  • Schools for Participation. Community Pride Initiative & Refugee and Migrant Network, A Community leadership training programme for a wide range of participants from different nationalities, developing a strategic plan to shape policies and services that affect their communities.
  • Community Audits with young people.
  • Padgate4free, young people led community planning, leading to funding and site proposals.
  • Groundwork, participatory evaluation of a national programme working with unemployed people.
  • Tameside College, co-run training programmes to enable progression to Higher education.
Please click on Publications for the full list of reports available.

Training opportunities 

Our training is based on providing tailor made programmes and sessions. Some of these fit within the format of MMU recognised modules e.g. Community Audit, Training the Trainers and Schools of Participation. These programmes are delivered with community partners, and combine practical work and reflection. The focus is on the learning process that increases the capacity of individuals and groups. We can also deliver specifically requested training for your group, drawing on the range of expertise of our team and partners, such as Gender Awareness, and Conflict Resolution.

Seminars and Conferences 

CAEC also run workshops and seminars, and host conferences, which bring together field workers, academics and community groups to explore theory, practice and policy development. For example:
  • Communities In Control: workshops and activities for community groups working on environment and sustainability issues.
  • The Community Development Challenge: North West launch.
  • Third Sector Research Centre: joint regional launch with Greater Manchester Council for Voluntary Organisations.
  • 'Gender Involvement in decision-making': findings of the Gender and Community Engagement in Manchester Project.
  • 'Conflict Resolution', learning about skills and strategies for resolving conflicts and applying these to the planning and delivery of projects.
Community Audit Wiki
CAEC News

LATEST EDITION with details on our move to Birley Fields in Hulme, our work with the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation, findings from the Resilience and Small Communities Groups study – and more!

We have been working with Church Action on Poverty to highlight the issues people face in having to pay more and more.

The abstract from her thesis entitled: Practice of Alliance and Solidarity with Asylum Seeking and Refugee Women can be found by clicking the title above.



MMU teams up with community

Mayo, M; Mendiwelso-Bendek, Z; Packham, C (2013) Community Research for Community Development, Palgrave Macmillan