Beyond the Radar 8 July 2011


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  • Actually, aim is multi-fold… The focus of this paper is related to the first aim, and in particular – government’s definition – but MORE IMPORTANTLY the data sources they currently use to understand the Third Sector and what they term ‘Under-the-radar’ organisations … this will lead into the rationale for our approach
  • Beyond the Radar 8 July 2011

    1. 1. Beyond the radar: maximising the impact of community activities<br />Angus McCabe & <br />Andri Soteri-Proctor<br />TSRC, University of Birmingham<br /><br /><br />8 July 2011<br />
    2. 2. Why are we here?<br />Continuing and increasing expectations on community groups and activities to<br />Take part in social action – more than ‘community engagement’?<br />Play a key role in public service reform<br />Contribute to renewing democracy<br />How do we respond? What can we do?<br />
    3. 3. The Issue<br />Size of the below the radar ‘sector’<br />The invisible architecture of the third sector/civil society<br />Toepler (2003) concludes that <br />‘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’<br />
    4. 4. Overview: A starting point?<br />Over 300 groups in each area – but duplications, missing (contact) information, duplication and variation between lists, updating issue<br />Quality of local listings? <br />Alternative pilot? TSRC’s ‘Street-walking’ mapping project to find unregistered third sector social activities, groups and organisations<br />Minimal definition: people coming together in shared space ‘regularly’<br />
    5. 5. Street-Walking mapping project: in search of unregistered third sector groups and activities<br /><ul><li>Backdrop: OTS pilot survey on unregistered organisations
    6. 6. Search tools
    7. 7. Early findings: the count so far …
    8. 8. Tentative reflections from the findings: </li></ul>Host-organisations – ‘unaccounted resources’<br />What we know about the geography of community engagement and whether this would look different if the ‘uncounted’ get counted?<br />
    9. 9. Street-walking mapping project (SWMP): <br /><ul><li>Task - to find ‘unregistered’ groups
    10. 10. The aims:
    11. 11. 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
    12. 12. generate ‘sub-population’ for more detailed work
    13. 13. test-bed for future mappers</li></ul>6<br />
    14. 14. The pilot: SWMP<br />Tight geographic boundaries in 2 localities<br />Locations A: West Midlands <br />6 neighbouring streets <br />With a highly densely populated ward, BME population (over 80%) with new and established ethnic communities <br />Location B: North West<br />Boundary drawn by connecting points of ‘shared space’<br />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 <br />
    15. 15. School<br /> Park<br />Hindu temple<br />Sikh temple<br />20 groups/<br />activities<br /><ul><li>Seasonal groups
    16. 16. Community centres with up to 50 unregistered groups</li></ul>8<br />
    17. 17. 60 and still counting ...… diverse and raising questions?<br />Quirky: ‘dowser group’<br />Serious ‘leisure’ and ‘hobby’ groups – photography, arts and museum …<br />Communities supporting each other (for a very long time):<br />eg. ‘death committee’; overseas village fund<br />multi-national ‘user-turn-volunteer’ service for refugees and asylum seekers <br />International women’s group – ESOL, heath awareness+<br />Regional unregistered community farm<br />
    18. 18. So what does this mean for community engagement?<br />a modest number of 60<br /><ul><li> in less than two-square miles
    19. 19. …. & still (un)counting!</li></ul>out there and have been for a long time: communities coming together, supporting each other<br />delivering services to (their) public; but this is not the same as public service delivery<br />
    20. 20. tentative comments…<br />unregistered groups are not islands; drawing on others’ resources <br />host-organisations play a role in fostering the work of many community activities: <br />beyond space = knowledge, support and expertise <br />walking a tight-rope: how far can they support these groups and find ways to sustain their buildings<br />risk of pushing out unregistered groups <br /> (own projects vs community activities?)<br />sensitivity on learning a culture of shared space<br />
    21. 21. How much do we really know about community engagement in deprived areas?<br />‘Social gradient’ - charity and voluntary deserts? <br />What would happen if we include the ‘informal’ third sector?<br />Would the trend remain the same or change?<br />Either way, there is more participation in deprived areas than is understood<br />
    22. 22. The Challenge<br />Engaging below the radar groups in the current policy agendas?<br />Who wants to engage, who needs to engage and why?<br />Making the ‘invisible architecture’ visible?<br />Beyond the radar – ideas into action.<br />
    23. 23. The Task<br />Question: has power (ever) really been transferred to communities?<br />If the agenda is the transfer of power<br />What needs to happen?<br />What can we do?<br />Who else needs to be involved?<br />Building influence for change?<br />