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.
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.
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.
For further information please visit the Take Part Research Website
ESRC THIRD SECTOR CAPACITY BUILDING CLUSTERS: Taking Part?
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.
Community Action: Exploring models for radical support’ ESRC Voucher: Penny Waterhouse: Partner – the National Coalition of Independent Action (NCIA) NCIA has teamed up with CAEC to explore models of support different groups use for radical community action. NCIA wants 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.
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'
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'
Data has been collected via an online survey distributed through regional third sector networks and local infrastructure support organisations in order to reach a wide range of small voluntary and community groups. CNW has also organised a series of participatory Seminars on Resilience and a major Conference event which took place on 1st December for small community groups where further interviews and discussions took place.
It is envisaged that this research will present a picture of the strength of this sector in the NW, the issues they are currently facing and the steps they are taking, and contribute 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. The research will also make recommendations for policy makers that will be aimed at strengthening this vital sector and will encourage the development of peer support networks and other approaches that will assist their survival.
Completed CAEC projects include:
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: email@example.com. 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.
The initial phases of the research aimed to provide a contextual overview of the work of the organisation, Community Pride Unit, and its impact upon a range of
communities involved in their Schools of Participation across the Manchester and Salford areas. A key objective of Community Pride's work is to promote and facilitate,
rather than drive and determine, the involvement of groups and individuals in the decision-making processes and practices that affect their own lives. Community Pride
aims to encourage participants to continue the work long after the organisation itself has completed the formal work with the group or community in question. Interviews
were conducted between March and October 2010 with a number of Community Pride colleagues as well as participants from some of the communities they had worked with.
You can access a final report for this project from the Publications section on the website
ESRC Research Placement:
The 'Was it Worth It?' research placement was developed, in conjunction with the Community Audit and Evaluation Centre (CAEC) based
here at MMU and Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO), to explore the effectiveness of the Community Grants -
Project Towpath initiative. It was completed in December 2010.
The Towpath initiative, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), is part of a wider scheme
known as the 'Community Grants Programme' which seeks to support smaller Third Sector organisations with close links to excluded and
disadvantaged communities. 'Project Towpath' provides grants of up to £12,000 to small voluntary sector groups based in Greater
Manchester. The projects and groups supported use innovative solutions and methods to engage the hardest to reach people to make the
positive steps needed to become 'job ready'. They help break down social, cultural and confidence barriers which stand in the way of
- Through this investment more than 1000 learners (across 63 projects - eventually 43) were supported via opportunities provided by
- The important role of small community based groups is evident, for enabling the skill and confidence development of community
members, identifying and meeting local needs, engaging 'excluded groups and individuals' and as a source of innovation and local
- The majority of participants felt they had benefited in a number of ways as a result of the initiative - particularly in terms of
building confidence and self esteem, the opportunity to meet new people, learning new skills e.g gardening and planning a future e.g.
enrolling at University and various training programmes, entering employment, joining a volunteering scheme.
- Wider outcomes have been apparent, such as the progression of learners to become more engaged and active citizens, e.g. as
volunteers and local representatives, and networking of local groups and services.
- Issues of recruitment and retention were an issue - engaging learners from excluded communities and maintaining regular attendance
was a challenge but one which organisations overcame through compromise and flexibility.
- Organisations perceived Project Towpath as being a valuable and rewarding experience, primarily because of the new work the fund had
enabled, and the impact that these groups subsequently perceived in the learners they had engaged with.
- The notion of developing organisational capacity amongst smaller third sector groups emerged as one of the key aspects of the project.
Smaller groups such as those targeted by Project Towpath struggle in terms of planning and securing funding as they lack capacity
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
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 has now completed the first stage of its Inquiry into local activism and dissent (January 2013). Information was gathered from 54 personal contacts and a further 22 examples from desk research. Stories of activism came from across the UK, including: Birmingham; Gloucestershire; London; West Sussex; Leeds; Nottingham; East Anglia; Manchester; Leicester; South West; North East; and Scotland.
For further information please contact:
(National Coalition for Independent Action www.independentaction.net
The final report will be available March 2013