Beyond the Radar 8 July 2011 Presentation Transcript
Beyond the radar: maximising the impact of community activities Angus McCabe & Andri Soteri-Proctor TSRC, University of Birmingham firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 8 July 2011
Why are we here? Continuing and increasing expectations on community groups and activities to Take part in social action – more than ‘community engagement’? Play a key role in public service reform Contribute to renewing democracy How do we respond? What can we do?
The Issue Size of the below the radar ‘sector’ The invisible architecture of the third sector/civil society Toepler (2003) concludes that ‘perhaps one of the few remaining big mysteries in non-profit sector research is the question of what we are missing by excluding those organisations from empirical investigations that are not easily captured in standard data sources’
Overview: A starting point? Over 300 groups in each area – but duplications, missing (contact) information, duplication and variation between lists, updating issue Quality of local listings? Alternative pilot? TSRC’s ‘Street-walking’ mapping project to find unregistered third sector social activities, groups and organisations Minimal definition: people coming together in shared space ‘regularly’
Street-Walking mapping project: in search of unregistered third sector groups and activities
Backdrop: OTS pilot survey on unregistered organisations
Early findings: the count so far …
Tentative reflections from the findings:
Host-organisations – ‘unaccounted resources’ What we know about the geography of community engagement and whether this would look different if the ‘uncounted’ get counted?
Street-walking mapping project (SWMP):
Task - to find ‘unregistered’ groups
engage critically with theoretical debates on definition and approaches used to understand the third sector; and examine the implications on what is missing from these analyses
generate ‘sub-population’ for more detailed work
test-bed for future mappers
The pilot: SWMP Tight geographic boundaries in 2 localities Locations A: West Midlands 6 neighbouring streets With a highly densely populated ward, BME population (over 80%) with new and established ethnic communities Location B: North West Boundary drawn by connecting points of ‘shared space’ Authority that is traditionally white English (90%) with pockets of deprivation. Selected area, less affluent and consists of an established Pakistani community, with more recent trends of transient migrant populations
School Park Hindu temple Sikh temple 20 groups/ activities
Community centres with up to 50 unregistered groups
60 and still counting ...… diverse and raising questions? Quirky: ‘dowser group’ Serious ‘leisure’ and ‘hobby’ groups – photography, arts and museum … Communities supporting each other (for a very long time): eg. ‘death committee’; overseas village fund multi-national ‘user-turn-volunteer’ service for refugees and asylum seekers International women’s group – ESOL, heath awareness+ Regional unregistered community farm
So what does this mean for community engagement? a modest number of 60
in less than two-square miles
…. & still (un)counting!
out there and have been for a long time: communities coming together, supporting each other delivering services to (their) public; but this is not the same as public service delivery
tentative comments… unregistered groups are not islands; drawing on others’ resources host-organisations play a role in fostering the work of many community activities: beyond space = knowledge, support and expertise walking a tight-rope: how far can they support these groups and find ways to sustain their buildings risk of pushing out unregistered groups (own projects vs community activities?) sensitivity on learning a culture of shared space
How much do we really know about community engagement in deprived areas? ‘Social gradient’ - charity and voluntary deserts? What would happen if we include the ‘informal’ third sector? Would the trend remain the same or change? Either way, there is more participation in deprived areas than is understood
The Challenge Engaging below the radar groups in the current policy agendas? Who wants to engage, who needs to engage and why? Making the ‘invisible architecture’ visible? Beyond the radar – ideas into action.
The Task Question: has power (ever) really been transferred to communities? If the agenda is the transfer of power What needs to happen? What can we do? Who else needs to be involved? Building influence for change?