Researching ‘Hard To Reach’Groups Chris Coe Senior Research Fellow
Outline of presentation • Terminology • Who are the ‘hard to reach’? • A research strategy • Sure Start example
Terminology • Use of the term ‘hard to reach’ • Alternatives may include: • Hidden populations • Marginalised groups • Groups defined by a specific trait that characterizes it’s members • Non – participative groups • Vulnerable • Low frequency groups • Minority groups
Who are the ‘hard to reach’? Working parents Parents coping with disability/ illness / addiction Homeless Parents with no English Teenage parents Men Refugee and Asylum Seekers SEN, Bilingual families, Travelling families. Groups with a specific trait or behaviour A particular geographical population Children in care
A Research Strategy • To explore the approach of Sure Start Staff and commissioned services to hard to reach groups • To access non- users of Sure Start and explore why they may not be involved
997 Potential 377 not registered 620 registered 193 non - users 427 using services Defining the problem
Strategies for data gathering from two groups: Non- registered non users • Snowballing techniques • Use of local schools • Use of relevant data from other sources within the evaluation Registered, non users • Survey methods • Geography • Use of relevant data from other sources within the evaluation
Just a thought… Are they ‘hard to reach’ or just not being accessed in the right way!
How can Sure Start work with ‘hard to reach’ groups? • Sure Start Friends - a Befriending service set up to focus specifically on Refugee and Asylum Seekers. • Programme manager: • ‘felt that Sure Start could most appropriately offer a focused service that would target a particular client group’
A pilot study The pilot would: • run for six months • test the feasibility of the service • develop joint working between Sure Start and Social Services After six months: • Clear working protocols were set up • Aims & objectives of the service identified • Develop a detailed job description • Self –evaluation of the pilot by the key worker
The Sure Start Friends • Volunteers from the local community, often asylum seekers and refugees themselves, undertake a training of ten weeks duration • Successful completion of the course gains ‘probationary status’, four supervised visits are required before becoming a ‘Friend’. • Some may be more suitably engaged by Sure Start in another capacity.
Evaluating the friends course The evaluation had two main aims; which were to explore the following: • How well do you think this course has prepared you to become a Sure Start friend? • What impact has being involved with Sure Start had on you?
Negative comments • I believe theoretically the course was quite efficient in enabling us to start our role as a befriender, but surely practice will make perfect and once we start practicing our knowledge we learn more • ‘Attend the refugee centre for at least one session, see in practice’
Positive comments • ‘The course has contributed greatly to my understanding and common knowledge about refugees, their needs and their requirements. Therefore I will be able to support them properly’ • Has surpassed all of my expectations! Content, organisation, organisers – professional, food! Friendly environment
What impact has being involved with Sure Start had on you? • A massive impact: many aspects, made me aware that I would like to work with women and children • Have learnt a lot about refugees and asylum seekers, dispel myths and ignorance! • Thought provoking regarding issues and experiences that Refugees and Asylum Seekers face • A desire to make a positive difference • I have made friends with people that I wouldn’t have met before!
What impact has being involved with Sure Start had on you? • Being able to take my daughter to playgroup and other activities • It has given my daughter and I more opportunities to experience different things • Joint* It has increased my knowledge and confidence • I have been able to help people in my community
User of the befriending service • Two other times I go there (Sure Start Ante natal classes) and I saw so many mums there. They were there with their babies and pregnant women. Yeah. It was very nice for me. They let me to know everything. They made everything easy for me. Because I knew that there’s a group to help me.