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What is to be Done? Universities and the voluntary and community sector working together to support working class communities: The role of research. Roger Green Department of Social, Therapeutic, and Community Studies Goldsmiths University of London. The Context. The Context. Cheers.
What is to be Done?Universities and the voluntary and community sector working together to support working class communities: The role of research
Department of Social, Therapeutic, and Community Studies
University of London
So what is the role of the university in supporting the voluntary and community sector,
and the communities they work with
during yet another crisis of capitalism?
They employ local people.
Universities are physical resources located in communities.
Universities operate within specific social, economic and political community contexts.
Universities have both a social and community value over and beyond their economic value.
Universities are part of Civil Society.
Students….and some staff often and learn live locally.Do universities have a role in the communities they are located?
Lewisham and surrounding boroughs have some of the highest levels of social & economic deprivation.
Long tradition of working and researching with local communities.
Commitment to social justice; engaging with political and social realities; supporting social change; informing and shaping social policies.
Many of its courses and professional training such as community development and social work reflects this.An example: Goldsmiths, University of London
Engaging with London’s Voluntary and Community Sector: A Community Scoping Study
Email me for a copy: firstname.lastname@example.org
To understand to what extent recent policies and changes in funding, have impacted on these organisations.
To consider how the Department of Social and Therapeutic Studies at Goldsmiths could respond.
To what extent was Goldsmiths currently engaged with its surrounding communities.Aims of the Study
“Do not monopolize your knowledge nor impose arrogantly your techniques but respect and combine your skills with the knowledge of the researched or grassroots communities, taking them as full partners and co-researchers…”
Participatory action research approach.
Focus of the research was equally determined by the research participants.
‘Community walkabout’ around South London.
Interviews took place with staff, trustees, volunteers and service users from 103 organisations across the South London boroughs.
Attendance at community forums and meetings.
Street conversations with 62 members of the public.
informal discussions with over 50 Goldsmiths staff, students and their representatives.
Organisations being affected disproportionately by the worsening financial climate, and the speed and scale of cuts in public expenditure.
Cuts in local authority funding support - staff redundancies, reduced services and projects closing.
Much less reliance on traditional sources of funding.
Move from ‘grant dependency models’ to ‘entrepreneurial business models’. Expected to become business facing and/or social enterprises.
Increased community demand for services, rising costs. Community needs increasing.
Organisations under the threat of losing their premises or being required to pay market rents.
Organisations working with minority groups felt discriminated against.
Organisations continually require new evidence - information and data – to support funding bids.
Wide range of research support needed by most organisations.
Negative view of Coalition government’s ’Big Society’ concept/policy and Localism agenda.
Majority of community organisations had little or no contact with Goldsmiths.
Majority of community organisations had only a small number of paid staff and relied heavily on volunteers.
A result of this is that they do not have the necessary in-house research capacity, research skills, and resources or access to research training.
Often they are not aware of existing research findings in their area of service provision.
This results in a wide range of challenges organisations including:
Inadequate monitoring of their service (s) and projects lacking robust evaluation.
Lack of clarity as to contractual targets/outputs being met.
Services promoting inclusiveness but not undertaking any real monitoring of users.
Unmet community needs not being recorded.
Funding applications not supported by research evidence resulting in unsuccessful applications for continuation or new funding
Research skills deficit.
Attended by representatives from across South London’s voluntary and community sector, and
Goldsmiths staff.The Community event
“Whose side are we on?”