One of Local Level's long term associates, Martin Dudley, has recently become involved with a university research project
Dwell is a three-year project, funded by the UK Research Councils (EPSRC, ESRC, and AHRC) to investigate how the design of houses and neighbourhoods can facilitate mobility and well-being – for current and future generations. A key aspect of the research project is the participation of local people within the design and evaluation processes.
Martin has joined a group of local volunteers in Dore, an outlying settlement of Sheffield, and lead by researchers from the University. Martin says that the group is helping to drive the work, using walkabouts, film and photography and design workshops with young people and groups of residents.
"Twenty-seven percent of the Dore population is over 65, and with the recently designated Neighbourhood Forum starting work on a Neighbourhood Plan that will be subject to a referendum, the work of the Dwell project can have a positive outcome as well as helping to inform the process of the research.”
Information on Dwell can be found at http://dwell.group.shef.ac.uk/.
We are currently working with the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham on a research project looking at the use of social media for community action among community groups in England.
This project is part of the TSRC’s ‘Below the Radar’ stream which explores the role, impact and experiences of small community action groups or organisations.
The CASM Project is funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust and will run until summer 2015. Follow @ThirdSectorRC.
Local Level is carrying out an evaluation of community development and digital inclusion initiatives in the East York area (Osbaldwick, Tang Hall and Derwenthorpe).
We are now looking for 5 residents in the three areas to gather some basic information from local people about their use of social media and the internet, and their experiences of being involved in community groups and local volunteering.
We will use this to compare how individuals and community life benefit from various projects and activities planned by Joseph Rowntree Foundation between autumn 2014 and spring 2016.
If you;re interested, please click here for further information, and here for an application form. Or for an informal chat about the role, please speak to Trudi Jackson, Community Development Worker, on 07583 201 625.
The deadline for applications is 5pm on Tuesday 30th September 2014.
A literature review on older people and social isolation, prepared by Kevin Harris for a project established by WoodGreen Community Services in Toronto, is now available.
The project seeks to understand the state and breadth of knowledge about the social isolation of older people in urban areas, with particular attention paid to housing form, and formal and informal care. The review covers material on the built and green environment; quality of life, health and well-being; and social support and connection. The coverage is of international material in English.
This is an overview rather than a systematic literature review – the huge literatures on ageing, health, quality of life, loneliness and so on, combined with a limited budget, precluded close reading of methodologies used in the material described. The bibliography covers nearly 500 separate items.
We’re grateful to Diane Dyson at WoodGreen and to Angus McCabe at the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham, for their support on this project.
Kevin Harris is working as part of the RedQuadrant team commissioned by Nesta to provide evaluation support to local authorities participating in the Cities of Service Programme.
This is a new initiative part-funded by the Cabinet Office, working with a number of towns and cities in England seeking to mobilise volunteers around specific civic problems, with a particular emphasis on measuring impact.
This phase of the programme involves establishing impact metrics and is expected to run from March to June 2014.
Local Level will be working with Joseph Rowntree Foundation over the next couple of years, advising on and evaluating community development, social media and digital inclusion activities in Derwenthorpe, York.
Derwenthorpe is a new mixed tenure development established by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, and as it takes shape and the homes becomes occupied, it will be possible to explore residents’ levels of confidence with social technologies, and to study how that in turn influences relative poverty and social exclusion.
There’s a 3D ‘fly-through’ of the new development on this page.
We’ll be working with the project team and local partners to develop a digital inclusion strategy and help raise levels of ‘digital fluency’. Community development activities in the area are already underway. This work will be supported, and the ways in which social technologies are used for community development will be investigated. The working hypothesis is that increased levels of digital inclusion will contribute to more community connectedness, and vice versa. Findings should help to clarify how social technologies establish and enhance the relationships and interactions that underpin community capacity and efficacy.
The Local Level team comprises Kevin Harris, Martin Dudley, Alison Gilchrist and Hugh Flouch, with advisory contributions from Keith Hampton and Carol Calvert.
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.