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Current Projects

Birley Community Education Programme (2014-2015)

Completed Projects

Research & Evaluation Course for Practice Placement Staff (June – November 2014)

The course taught participatory research and evaluation skills to eleven professionals from organizations that offer placements to students from MMU’s Youth and Community and Health and Social Care courses. The course was taught by associate lecturer, consultant and trainer Liz Jayne. As part of the course, students were encouraged to put their new skills into practice by organizing a participatory research project within their own organization. These projects helped the students ground their new skills and knowledge with a practical framework, but they also were of significant value to the participants’ organizations in their own right. The course was a considerable success and will be run again in summer 2015.

Digital Media Skills and Training (September 2014 – February 2015)

Between October 2014 and February 2015, CAEC worked with the First Cut Media and Performing Arts group on three training courses that were designed to give ten local unemployed people training in scriptwriting, video production techniques and digital post-production techniques. First Cut Media’s Tony Reeves was the course tutor. Students were encouraged to work together to create their own films. The final films were screened at an event at Birley in February, and the students were awarded their certificates.

Community Researchers Course - Hidden Voices in Hulme (October 2014 – February 2015)

CAEC collaborated on this course with the Gender and Participation. The course trained a number of older Hulme residents in research techniques. These researchers then went on to produce a piece of research entitled ‘Hidden Voices in Hulme: Older People’s Experiences, Views and Aspirations’, in which many elderly residents of Hulme where interviewed about a number of issues within their community. The researchers analysed the data that they had collected from the research and presented their findings on 5th February 2015 at an event attended by academics, local politicians, members of local community groups and members of the community who had participated in the research. The research findings may influence a number of decisions made concerning Hulme in the future.

Fathers Against Violence Christmas Event (December 2014)

In December 2014, CAEC jumped in to lend a hand when Fathers Against Violence asked for assistance with a Christmas event for the participants of their football course, Can U Kick It. CAEC has been working with James Gregory for the past three years and was pleased to provide the refreshments for the event and certification for the young people who had been attending the weekly Can U Kick it course. Carol Packham attended the event to present the certificates and join in with the celebrations.

Empowering Girls & Young Women (January – February 2015)

This short course run in January and February, recruited twelve women participants from a range of organisations including Pupil Referral Units and Youth Projects and MMU students, who wanted to develop their work empowering young women and girls. The course was a combination of practical activities, group work and discussion. The free five session programme for women youth workers (paid or unpaid) who wanted to develop their understanding and practice in relation to empowering anti-sexist work with girls and young women.

‘The History of the African & Caribbean Communities in Britain’ Book Launch (February 2015)

On 14th February 2015, CAEC worked with Manchester Children’s Book Festival to host Dr Hakim Adi at Birley for the relaunch of his book, ‘The History of the African and Caribbean Communities in Britain’. It is currently the only children’s book that deals with this subject and is now being reprinted for the third time. Dr. Adi is Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at the University of Chichester, and the only Black professor of history in the UK. The event was well attended, with Professor Adi giving a short talk on the importance of engaging young people in the subject of history as well as talking to individuals whilst signing their books. In the end, around 100 books were sold, making the launch a resounding success for all involved.

RECLAIM Leadership Programme (February 2015)

CAEC hosted two groups of 25 12-14 year olds at Birley for two days each during February half term as part of RECLAIM’s Leadership Programme. RECLAIM’s Leadership programme aims to end leadership inequality by training young people from deprived backgrounds in diverse skills such as public speaking and emotional intelligence. It also encourages participants to take an interest in politics, activism and in taking pride in their own communities. The groups worked on a project in which they founded their own political parties and were encouraged to think about which issues in politics they thought were important to them. They then held a mock general election to see whose policies were most successful. The groups were encouraged to use different kinds of media to present their message, including using video technology to make campaign videos. The courses ended with a trip to Manchester Town Hall where the groups were able to present their ideas to local politicians.

Upcoming Work

Know Your History, Know Yourself (April 2015)

Community historian Linford Sweeney will teach this course aimed at young adults. The course aims to enlighten students about aspects of Black history that are overlooked in traditional curriculums by focusing on ancient and medieval African history. As well as teaching students about history, the course aims to encourage young people to do their own historical research, to write their own histories and encourage higher learning and education.

Research & Evaluation Course for Practice Placement Staff (May/June 2015)

CAEC will once again run this course based on its previous success. See above for details of course content.

Birley Community Education Programme (2013-2014)

Is Uni for Me? (January – April 2014)

This course started in January and is being co-ordinated in partnership with Greenheys Adult Education Centre, and the MMU Education Liaison Team. The course aims to help possible applicants prepare for entry to university with a range of issues covered including: how to apply to university, completing application forms, interview techniques, study skills, the University Experience etc.

IT Course for Dyslexics (February – March 2014)

Due to the success of this course last year, MMU have teamed up again with Manchester Dyslexia Self-Help group to help dyslexic people based within Hulme and surrounding areas to develop their ICT and job application skills. The course ran for 8 weeks and focused on developing IT skills around area such as confidence using the internet; writing CVs and application letters; a good knowledge of how to access and use assistive software.

Surviving the Terrible Teens – A Parent Survival Course (February –April 2014)

This project is a collaboration between MMU and Chrysalis Manchester, a family support centre established in 1994 to promote the concept of self, emotional and social improvement. They work with dedicated members of staff and volunteers to build and promote positive self-image that enable young people to strive and achieve through acquiring basic skills for live.

The course is running over 12 weeks for parents who are having difficulties in their relationships with their children. The course aims to give parents a better understanding of issues affecting young people; improved confidence in dealing with issues affecting young people, and improved communications with their teenager.

Aspire to MMU (Autumn 2013 ongoing)

Working in partnership with Mothers Against Violence (MAV) and Church Action on Poverty, CAEC has been working with a group of young offenders from Forest Bank Prison on a Schools of Participation programme, to raise their aspirations and help them into education and employment. They currently have a regular group of between 5 and 10 participants, all young men aged between 19 and 30.

The course has covered a range of issues from prison life and relationships with prison officers to the help and support which can be provided for people leaving prison. Most of the people in the group have had issues with drugs and alcohol and there are underlying related problems, including self-esteem and confidence issues. Links already made with participants inside have led to contact and support outside.

Fathers Against Violence (September 2013 ongoing)

We are currently supporting a year long, training programme using the medium of football with fathers and sons, incorporating aspects on health, well-being, team work, and communication, partnering with FAV, and Reachout. There are also discussions about MMU facilitating a follow up mentoring session later in the year for participants who attended the weekend mentoring course.

Somali Adult Social Care Agency, Community Audit training (October 2013 ongoing)

We are continuing to work with SASCA to train a team of Somali men and women to undertake participatory research to find out how best their community can engage with the services, and develop their potential in relation to education and employment.

Following an introductory meeting at the end of September 2013, 21 researchers were recruited to take part in the training programme and then to undertake research into the needs of the Somali community in Manchester funded by Manchester City council’s Equality Unit. The course is being facilitated by Liz Jayne, an independent consultant, with support from Salah Abdisamad, a graduate of the BA in Youth and Community Work at MMU.

Completed Projects (2013)

Introduction to Mentoring – CAEC in partnership with Manchester Mind (September 2013)

This programme was aimed at a range of individuals who have already worked with CAEC and MMU in the past on other programmes i.e dyslexics, BME groups, ex-offenders, young people etc. Topics covered included: common problems, communication skills, mental health awareness, understanding diversity and equality, boundaries, confidentiality, health and safety, the stages of mentoring relationship, the procedures followed to progress and end a mentoring service.

IT for Dyslexics - Hulme Dyslexia Self Help Group/MMU Access Summit (March 2013)

This 8 week course was held every Wednesday (January to March 2013) in the Business School with around 20 dyslexic students from the local community, and some workers who wanted to improve their awareness of how to use specialist dyslexia ICT programmes. The course focused on developing IT skills around area such as confidence using the internet; writing cvs and application letters; a good knowledge of how to access and use assistive software.

School of Participation for people with chronic illness - Community Pride (June 2013)

The Living Well School of Participation for people with long-term illness and disability started in February and had its final session in June. Community Pride worked with a small group of people with a wide range of different long-term conditions on a variety of different issues decided by the group themselves. There was a lot of emphasis on learning to self-manage different aspects of having a long-term condition, including improving assertiveness, self-care, and managing energy levels. The group also highlighted the lack of available information to people with different types of conditions. As a result, they have produced a small booklet including their hints and tips for coping with long-term conditions, some of the things they have learned through the course and some of Manchester's resources and services that they have found useful.

Somali Residents of Moss Side and Old Trafford – Community Pride (2012-2013)

This School of Participation (supported by the Tudor Trust) ran from late October 2012 to early January 2013 with a group of 15 people at the Ogden Community Centre in Old Trafford. The group identified three important issues: funding, English language and youth activities. At the end of the School, members of the group reported increased levels of confidence in their communication skills and abilities. They also said that the School gave them the impetus to put their ideas into practice and develop links with other organisations and communities.

Media Workshops - Your Square Mile

CAEC co-ordinated a range of successful events with the lottery-funded organisation Your Square Mile. Your Square Mile is a not-for-profit organisation and national movement that offers practical support to people who want to get involved with local voluntary work and create positive change in their community. Your Square Mile has been working in Moss Side and Hulme since last July, sponsored by Heineken, to support local projects and communications within the community and as a result they organised two community media training sessions. With 12 participants at each session, the first was held at MMU Business School and was a collaboration between themselves, the BBC and Media Trust. It was a chance for local residents to learn about the tools and resources available to tell their own stories and contribute to the voice of the community. Colleagues from both Faculties of Education and Health attended.

The second session was a chance for residents to learn how to use and develop the community website recently launched by Your Square Mile in the area.

Creative Changes Workshop

Creating Changes: Using Community Development to support small community groups, voluntary organisations and networks in your local area ‘Practice Sharing Workshop: Supporting collective learning and developing skills’ – This workshop was organised by the Federation for Community Development Learning (FCDL) and hosted by MMU at the Business School with attendees from CAEC.

Mentoring for Employment Success (April 2012-April 2014)

The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation (MBF) in partnership with Remploy has secured funding from the Big Lottery Funds Reaching Communities England programme to support disabled and disadvantaged people into work through a volunteer-based mentoring project. This is an innovative pilot project which involves all Remploy branches throughout Greater Manchester and has the potential to create an evidence base to potentially show that mentor support can result in disabled and disadvantaged job seekers gaining and sustaining employment.

The two-year project has been available from April 2012 to Remploy candidates who would benefit from additional motivation, increased confidence and greater focus on their journey into employment. The project aims to increase the chances of participants in reaching their full employment potential. The Community Audit and Evaluation Centre has been commissioned to produce a critical literature review as well as train a team of researchers and undertake a participatory research evaluation of the project.

Participatory Evaluation Report

Mentoring for Employment Report

Hyde Action Community Project (January 2013-April 2013)

CAEC was recently commissioned by Hyde Community Action to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of a community development project. Hyde Community Action is a community led charity set up in 2007 to continue and expand the work started at the Asian Healthy Living Centre. Local residents supported by staff from Tameside & Glossop PCT worked together to create the new organisation to meet local community needs and aspirations. Hyde Community Action exists to improve the health and general well-being of the people of Hyde.

The project is funded by a Big Lottery Fund grant, which sets quite demanding targets in terms of outcomes monitoring. The Project is targeting local Bangladeshi women, many of whom have great creative energies and skills and fluency in Bangla but limited use of written language.

Schools of Participation (October 2012 on-going)

The following Schools of Participation are organised in partnership with Community Pride Unit, Church Action on Poverty.

  • Salford Mums Working Together
    This School of Participation began in October 2012 and finished in January 2013. We worked with a group of young mums in Broughton, Salford on a variety of issues chosen by the participants. These included research on nutrition, children’s behaviour, provision of childcare in Salford and opportunities for training. A crèche was provided on site and was used by a group of nine children. The group completed a consultation document to the Mayor of Salford giving their ideas and suggestions for improvements to services in the city. They also met with the Manager of the local SureStart and the Broughton Trust and as a result there are 3 options for the group to continue to meet with childcare provision in place. Feedback from participants included: “Everyone learned from each other”, “It helped being able to talk openly – to be able to know that you can talk in confidence”, “I feel happy and positive when I go home”.

    This School was supported by CAEC (MMU) and Lloyds TSB Foundation.

  • Positive Changes Group
    This School of Participation started mid-October 2012 with a group of men in Salford who have been involved in the criminal justice system and want to make a positive change in their lives and in society. Issues raised by the group included the lack of support given to men leaving prison and the need to deter young people from crime. The group are currently working on a booklet to be distributed to people in prison giving advice on how to stay out of trouble on leaving prison and also a DVD aimed at deterring young people from getting into crime. Feedback from participants included: “I feel proud and good to be putting something good back as I might have contributed to the bad in the past.” “Inspiring and positive”, “Great sharing of strong ideas from whole group.”

    This School is supported by CAEC (MMU), Lloyds TSB Foundation, Lottery funded and also supported by Manchester City Mission.

  • Somali Residents of Moss Side and Old Trafford
    This School of Participation ran from late October 2012 to early January 2013 with a group of 15 people at the Ogden Community Centre in Old Trafford. The group identified three important issues: funding, English language and youth activities. At the end of the School, members of the group reported increased levels of confidence in their communication skills and abilities. They also said that the School gave them the impetus to put their ideas into practice and develop links with other organisations and communities. Feedback from participants included “Challenging”, “an eye opener”, “inspirational”, “beneficial”, “Schools of Participation was a unique training – not only giving information but it is the participation that brings out the knowledge we already have”.

    This School was supported by CAEC (MMU) and the Tudor Trust.

ESRC Project 2008 - 2013 

For further information please visit the Take Part Research Website
or the Third Sector Research Website


This is a partnership between researchers from The University of Lincoln, Goldsmiths, University of London and Manchester Metropolitan University - funded by the Economic & Social Research Centre (ESRC), The Office for the Third Sector and the Barrow Cadbury Trust. The cluster is one of three national clusters linked with the new National Centre for Third Sector Research.

Current CAEC projects include:

Cultural identity and active citizenship: ‘Young Heritage Detectives - Who are You? An investigation into the importance of cultural identity for young refugees and asylum seekers to enable active citizenship’ ESRC Voucher: Circle Steele: Partner – The Children’s Society This study aims to investigate the importance of cultural identity in the development of young people’s citizenship awareness and positive sense of self. The research will explore the impact of a specific Children’s Society Young Heritage Detective (YHD) project by young refugees and asylum seekers aged 10 - 19 years of Africa and Asian heritage. The young people collated information about their heritage and that of communities within Rochdale through oral history interviews with their parents, guardians and elder members of the communities. You can access an executive summary and final report for this project from the Publications section on the website

Community Action: Exploring models for radical support’ ESRC Voucher: Penny Waterhouse: Partner – the National Coalition of Independent Action (NCIA) NCIA teamed up with CAEC to explore models of support different groups use for radical community action. NCIA wanted to share with other activists the different ways groups organise around an issue; and find out how a national alliance, like NCIA, can join with local activists to fight privatisation and hold onto their common wealth. You can access an executive summary and final report for this project from the Publications section on the website

ESRC Case Student: Hannah Berry is working with the Gender and Participation Unit (GAP): 'A Critical Investigation of the meaning and manifestations of empowerment in diverse grassroots women's organisations - how is personal and collective empowerment experienced and harnessed for social and political gains'. Hannah has just submitted her thesis on the subject.

ESRC Case Student: Green Nyoni is working with Manchester Refugee Support Network (MSRN) on a project entitled: 'An exploration of the role of a membership network and how it can best support the interests of RCOs and under-represented groups (e.g women) within the Refugee and Asylum seeker communities'. Green is currently completing his PhD.

Building Community Resilience in the NW: ‘An exploration of the strategies adopted by small voluntary and community groups to enable their survival and to identify their future support needs’ ESRC Placement: Eve Davidson: Partner - Community North West (CNW)

This research contributes to the development of an evidence base on how the economic climate and public spending cuts are impacting on communities in the NW and the groups that support them. For further information and discussion please contact Eve Davidson: The full report can be accessed via the Publications section of the CAEC website.

Informal Education programmes with young black men: ‘To identify strategies for enabling the effective participation of young Black men aged 14-19 in culturally specific personal development programmes in areas of masculinity, racial identity, emotional literacy, community and citizenship; and a range of training, volunteering and learning opportunities’- ESRC Research Voucher: Erica Davis: Partner - The Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust. The full report can be accessed from the Publications section of the CAEC website.

ESRC Research Voucher: Community Pride - Need, Opportunity, Impact (March 2011)

This research study was undertaken over a 3 month period in 2010 and was funded by the ESRC as part of the 'Taking Part Capacity Building Cluster' (CBC) (2008-2012). The aim of this particular research study was to identify key practices which could help develop local communities' sustainability and draw out the key, transferable elements of their work that might influence the policy and practices of others working in similar fields in other areas.
You can access an executive summary and final report for this project from the Publications section on the website

The cluster will publish and disseminate research findings to a variety of audiences. Each activity in the cluster will be independently managed by one of the 3 partner institutions (Lincoln, Goldsmiths and Manchester Metropolitan) while being part of the wider research network within the cluster and the Third Sector Research Centre.

To contact the cluster:

Zoraida Mendiwelso Bendek (

Marjorie Mayo (

Carol Packham (

Rebecca Herron (


Completed Projects

Take Part Salford 2009 - 2011 

Take Part Pathfinder Salford

The Take Part Programme
The Take Part programme was established by the Department for Communities and Local Government from 2008 to 2011, with a total investment of £8.7m. Of this, a total of £4.3 million was committed over three years for local Take Part pathfinders to support community leadership and active citizenship learning in a number of areas across England.

The pathfinders aimed to:
  • build the skills and confidence of local people to enable them to pursue civic and civil activism, community leadership and lay governance roles (including that of local councillor)
  • support people and organisations in developing an understanding of barriers to participation, how to overcome them and how to influence decisions
  • provide a range of information about local opportunities to become involved
  • provide accreditation of learning where appropriate

Eight phase one Take Part pathfinders joined the programme in December 2008 and a further 10 phase two pathfinders joined in April 2009. The lead organisations were a mixture of voluntary sector organisations, local authorities and academic institutions, each working in partnership with a variety of other organisations, including voluntary sector and local strategic partnership partners. Pathfinders covered a broad range of geographical areas between them, with some pathfinders covering whole counties and others targeted at ward level. This enabled pathfinders to run a range of activities tailored to the needs of local communities, and included short and long term learning programmes, community leadership programmes, accreditation options and provision of a variety of information and events.

Another aspect of the Take Part programme was the delivery of national support activity to complement the work of the local pathfinder projects and to support the roll of out the Take Part approach across sectors and new locations. This included the production of a series of Take Part resources and case studies for practitioners to use, a programme to train people to become Take Part trainers and the appointment of a regional Take Part champion in each region to distribute a development fund and facilitate new Take Part activities.

The interim evaluation of the Take Part programme took place in summer 2010. This found that the programme has had a wide reach, and in 2009-10 approximately 6,569 people benefited from pathfinders' work, either through their involvement in workshops, one-off sessions, pathfinder organised events or informal and formal learning activities. Many have reported significant benefits from their involvement. Download the full report or a summary report.

The final evaluation of the Take Part programme is ongoing, with the final report due in Summer 2011.


The Mobex project 2010 

The Mobex LinC 1 course attracted 8 participants, 6 of whom completed the course. The 4 day course which ran over two weeks included:
  • Core skills for developing leadership
  • Activity toolkit

The participants gained a great deal from the course and highlighted:
  • An increase in confidence
  • A sense of team spirit and an ability to build relationships with others
  • A sense of trust
  • A sense of self and self awareness

The rationale of the LinC 1 course was to enable the group to feel confident enough to meet outside the prison, on release. The LinC 2 course would be part of an overall resettlement programme giving a sense of direction to the participants and support and encouragement through peer association. This did not happen, because:
  • The uncoordinated timings of release meant that the group was dispersed.
  • There were no clear dates projected for LinC2 and it was hard to maintain contact with the group on release, despite
  • Perhaps the idea of another project reminded the participants of 'prison' and this was another reason for lack of contact?

  • Mobex to plan 2 x LinC1 courses in two different prisons to give a comparative evaluation.
  • The programme to be much more intense, 12 days over 4 weeks
  • The Community Awareness element which had been dropped from the first Altcourse course would be included.
  • The pattern of the course would include 3 'days out' building on the success of the Altcourse experiment and canoeing, kayaking, climbing and walking would be part of the ONC accreditation.

Community Audit Wiki

SPRING 2015 EDITION with details of our latest activity.

AUTUMN 2014 EDITION with details on our small name change, new location and latest research!

March 2014 - 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