Centre for Citizenship and Community
Established in 2013 in partnership with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and in collaboration with the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics, the Centre for Citizenship and Community is concerned with research approaches that are co-produced, and with building research evidence that emphasises the importance of working with community capacity and assets. It brings together UCLan academics and external expert associates passionate about tackling social injustice and enhancing the social connectedness and health of communities.
In a context shaped by the recent circumstances of the pandemic, the importance of human relationships and social value has emerged as fundamental in considering community and the dimensions of community connection. This involves a focus on empowerment and agency in the nurturing of cooperative citizenship in community. To provide for additional expertise and experience in this area the CCC has established close ties with the Centre of SME Development (Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise (LSBE)) enabling on-going research to be informed by existing links with the community wealth building project known as the Preston Model, and its development in bridging economic and social divides through forms of cooperation.
The Centre uses a Connected Communities approach, created in response to the growing need for the study and development in practice, of effective community approaches to engaging communities and working with the assets and value that they represent; an approach which combines community based-participatory research methods and social network theory. Through co-produced research that takes a ‘citizen social science approach’ – that is, involving people in various ways in designing, doing, interpreting and disseminating research – members provide support for policy, research, learning and local practice in community engagement and social inclusion. Their vision is of services that are designed to integrate, in everyday practice, the value of social and community assets and networks in achieving wellbeing and inclusion outcomes. The Centre does this by combining its expertise with that of a network of associates and other university partners to work with service organisations and communities, across the spectrum of social policy areas and public service settings.
The Centre’s principles are: change through networks; social value capture; organising for inter-dependence and a culture of co-operation. The nature of research is participatory involving people as ‘community researchers’ and ‘citizen scientists’; reflexive and qualitative, mixing methods as required; diverse in context and participation; and practice focused.
‘Community capital’ can be grown through a way of working that follows the Connected Communities principles of Understanding the local situation, relationships and patterns of isolation; Involving people in creating solution(s); and aiming to Connect people to one another to reduce isolation and create more connected communities.
The Centre’s varied portfolio of work includes engaging with residents in local areas, health and social care, housing, ageing and dementia, mental health, learning disabilities, young people, policing, and social cohesion.
No, this infrastructure does not provide funding.
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University of Central Lancashire
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