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A new Centre for Citizenship and Community is to examine how public services might engage with local communities in order to promote co-operation, equity, inclusion and wellbeing.

Established by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the RSA, with the Royal Society for Public Health and the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics, the Centre will provide support for policy, research, learning and local practice on community engagement and social inclusion.

Launched at the RSA, the Centre will be guided by the practical approach set out by Connected Communities, a five year RSA/UCLan project that has piloted local interventions for achieving health, wellbeing and inclusion via enhancing the power of social networks.

The Centre for Citizenship and Community will draw on the resources and knowledge of its partner agencies including the RSA Fellowship, in order to examine policy implications for health and social care services, and other fields such as housing, criminal justice, drugs and alcohol services, arts and culture and Higher and Further education.

The Centre will offer a ‘connected communities approach’ in all service settings where it is required, including dedicated support for community engagement in:

  • Strategies and integrated programmes for social and community-based commissioning.

  • Service development and redesign, based on economic modelling and cost-benefit analysis, organisational, leadership and workforce development.

  • Bespoke programmes of accredited learning and professional development.

  • Programme evaluation and research evidence.

Steve Broome, RSA Director of Research said:

“If we are to prosper, socially and economically, in the face if austerity, we need new ways of understanding, growing and mobilising the significant assets and relationships that exist in our communities, and in our public, voluntary and private sector institutions.  Further, we need to consider and work with our communities as networks and help to weave these networks to become more inclusive and socially productive.  The partnership we have developed in the new Centre for Citizenship and Community offers new ways to address these challenges and opportunities, and can help to transform how we design and deliver public services and social support.”

Commenting on the launch, Professor Rod Dubrow Marshall, UCLan said:

“This is a partnership for innovation; for enabling a new appreciation of communities and of public services designed to reflect the real value of community connection for inclusion and opportunity. With the challenge of engaging communities in the public policy spotlight, the Centre for Citizenship and Community is well placed to meet this effectively through the integration of shared learning, practical research and innovative practice that is so much part of UCLan's contemporary vision and approach”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said:

“The RSPH is pleased to support the new Centre for Citizenship and Community. We believe that community development is at the heart of addressing health inequalities as well as improving wellbeing at all levels of society. Only such a bottom-up approach, where individuals come together to mobilise their joint assets and are provided with support and encouragement to take responsibility for their own health behaviours, can we build a society that fosters wellness and resilience”.

Notes to editors

  1. To attend the launch contact RSA Head of Media Luke Robinson by email, or call him on 020 7451 6893 or 07799 737 970

  2. For further information about UCLan email Zoe Robinson or call 0207 307 2448

  3. Connected Communities takes its name from the five year Big Lottery funded programme initiated by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in collaboration with UCLan. In seven sites across the country, the study is using a blend of deliberative community engagement and social network mapping to generate, deliver and evaluate locally determined interventions for improved inclusion and wellbeing outcomes based on these social networks and the community assets that they represent. For more information visit the Connected Communities webpage

  4. The Centre will be based in the School of Social Work at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in North West England and the Kings Fund offices in London.


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