Working with Breslin Public Policy
, Kevin Harris recently facilitated a series of focus groups for Adoption UK
and prepared a report to inform the organisation’s strategic development.
The focus groups involved adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents, extending Local Level’s experience of work related to children and young people looked after.
This piece of work threw up absorbing issues about how a contemporary membership organisation relates to members who are almost all ‘100 per cent people’ - they give 100 per cent themselves and if they come across anything less than 100 per cent in their lives, in their code it is legitimately open to criticism.
It was a privilege to work with so many energetic, committed and inspiring people, and with an organisation striving to deliver excellence in a hugely demanding field.
Kevin Harris has been appointed to a Practice Fellowship with the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham
In the short term he'll be working with Angus McCabe on social technologies and poverty.
We are about to begin work on a literature review and bibliography for a project addressing the sense of isolation among older people. The plan is to give the project a sound platform, and it’s especially significant for us because it’s based in East York, Toronto – not just the city of Jane Jacobs but also the area studied by Barry Wellman in his pioneering work on local social networks
in the 1970s.
Our credentials for this contract come from Kevin Harris’s book on Neighbouring and older people
, which explored the ways in which formal and informal support contribute to the potential sense of interdependence for older people.
The ISEY project will cover housing form and vulnerability, informal support through neighbourhoods and social networks, and the role of formal community services. We’ll also be looking for good examples of survey instruments.
A project with children and young people in poverty, to which we contributed earlier this year, has now resulted in a powerful publication called A series of doors
, expressing the participants’ views and experiences. At an event in Westminster last February, one of the young people said:
‘The more problems people have, the less likely they are to be supported out of poverty. It is like a series of doors. One door is being poor, another door is being autistic, another door is being a young carer, another door is living in a bad area… The more doors there are, the more keys are needed to open them and people don’t care enough to make the effort to open them all.’
According to the AA, 32 per cent of neighbour disputes relate to parking problems
. It's striking how high this figure is - there are no details on the AA site
as yet - and how, if true, the issue appears to have taken over from noise and dogs as the keys to neighbour provocation.
Kevin Harris was invited onto Radio London's Vanessa Feltz show to discuss this today and commented on the levels of aggression associated with car use generally.
is a richly illustrated essay exploring the curious tradition of picking up items dropped by complete strangers in public places, and placing them - in routine acts of simple anonymous generosity - on fences, walls or branches to make it more likely that their owners will recover them.
If you’ve ever dropped something in the street and found that someone unknown has taken the trouble to pick it up and place it safely in view, so that you could recover it, you may have been struck by the simple thoughtfulness of their action. Lost possessions
is a collection of striking photographs, with a light-hearted essay exploring this reassuring tradition of uncelebrated, considerate behaviour.
Printed in full colour on high quality, FSC-approved sustainably-sourced paper.
Text: Kevin Harris.
Images: Martin Dudley, Kevin Harris and Jan Steyaert.
Conceived, designed and edited by Kevin Harris and Martin Dudley.
Price: £3.00 + £0.75 p&p.
To order please click here
We’re currently finalising some written output from a few projects we’ve been working on, so here’s the heads up for three publications which should be available over the next 4 weeks or so. They’re listed here in the likely order of publication. They will all be announced here and on the Neighbourhoods blog
- but if you can’t wait, send us a message
! Lost possessions
– a playful essay with photographs exploring the phenomenon whereby people pick up dropped possessions (scarves, gloves, hats etc) and place them in a prominent position for rediscovery by the owner. These are gestures of consideration for people we are never likely to meet and whose gratitude we are never likely to receive. Lost possessions
will be published by Local Level using Bookleteer
‘A series of doors’ Young people talking about the experience of poverty
– this paper derives from the work we carried out with Breslin Public Policy
and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner
earlier this year. The full report contributed to the OCC’s submission to government on the measurement of child poverty; but inevitably the breadth and sharpness of the young people’s contributions was diminished. This paper repackages much of what we heard, minimising the surrounding context, so that the dominant voices are those of the young people themselves. The paper will be published by Breslin Public Policy. Social technologies, poverty and ethnicity
– this is a spin-off paper by Kevin Harris as part of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation project
on poverty, ethnicity and social networks. The project is led by the Third Sector Resource Centre
. It is based on workshop and interview comments and will be published by the TSRC.
A report into the viability of local online channels in low income areas
, written by Kevin Harris and Hugh Flouch, has now been published by Networked Neighbourhoods
It describes and reflects on four experimental projects we carried out during 2011-2012 in separate localities in England.
The basic rationale was to test whether resident-run online neighbourhood networks could be established in low income neighbourhoods and if they could be shown to bring social benefits.
The report adds weight to claims that local online channels can be established inexpensively in low income areas, that they can be made sustainable, and that they contribute to the quality of local social life.
The report is here
. There is also a two page summary
, and a post
on the Networked Neighbourhoods blog.
We are about to start work on a research project as part of a major Joseph Rowntree Foundation programme
focussing on the links between poverty and ethnicity across the UK.
The project, Making the links
, aims to develop a better understanding of how networks support or hinder people’s capacity and opportunities to cope with and move away from poverty. In particular, the research will explore how different kinds of social relationships connect people from various ethnic communities beyond family, neighbours and friends who share similar backgrounds.
The overall aim of the research is to inform policy and practice so that agencies and communities can better understand and promote positive social networking as a means of enabling access to employment, resources and pathways out of poverty.
The fieldwork is being undertaken in Birmingham, Liverpool and Cumbria and will involve the active participation of those who have moved out of poverty, remain poor, or are at risk of poverty, in understanding the role of social networks and developing recommendations to policy makers in this field.
There will be a particular focus on Chinese, Polish, South East Asian and Somali groups - in long established communities as well as recent arrivals. The research will involve small to medium enterprises developed within these communities and will seek the views of employment/business advisors and other professionals working to address poverty within BME communities.
The project runs until June 2013 and is led by the Third Sector Research Centre
at the University of Birmingham. The other partners are Alison Gilchrist
, and Praxis CIC
In an exciting and potentially significant new project, we’re working with Breslin Public Policy
and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner
to run a participative event with children and young people in poverty.
The purpose is to help the participants to articulate their experience of poverty in a way that government officials can use to develop specific measures of child poverty. Kevin Harris will be working with Tony Breslin to organise, design and facilitate the event, and to report to the Children’s Commissioner by early January.