It is an exciting time in the RSA's Connected Communities team. Alongside our academic partners UCLAN and LSE, we are approaching an interesting milestone in our seven-site, five year Connected Communities programme that seeks to understand how community and social connections affect people's well-being, and how to use this information to best plan local projects.
These sites are (in a rough right to left, south to North zig-zag) the Wick estate in Littlehampton, Arun; SE14 and SE4 in Lewisham, South London; Knowle West in Bristol; Tipton, near Sandlewell; Bretton in Peterborough; the Merseyside L8 area in Liverpool; and Murton, an ex-mining village in County Durham.
Having analysed the links between well-being and social/community connections for thousands of people across seven sites (as shown in the map above) we are now getting to the stage where we can take stock of emergent findings, and start planning how to use these findings to help fund-raise for and support evidence-based project in each of the local sites.
We are now finishing up the community playback of findings in each site (click here to see what happened when we went to Mersey to playback findings and discuss new potential interventions) and just held an annual partner's event to playback overall findings and plan next steps. If you ever wondered what a travellign wellbeign and connectiosn road-show looked like, have a look-see at this here storify to see what happened, tweet by tweet.
So far, so complex, but I am trying to help shed light on the complicated links between well-being and connections by putting together the beginnings of a connectedness toolkit?
Essentially, context matters; each area is different, but similarly so. Key themes emerging are the need for social support, the relative nature of social vulnerability, the importance of how people's aspirations link to their area and context, the importance of feeling part of something, and the importance of being able to effect change and to see change being effected. Click here for the colourful storified version, and Watch This Space for further updates!