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  • Young people’s engagements with heritage: tackling inequality & other opportunities for public policy

    Blamire, Joshua; Rees, James; Elkington, Rob (The British Academy, 2024-05-23)
  • ‘Waiting for school’: English Language Teaching resilience for newly arrived children

    Puttick, Mary-Rose; Institute for Community Research and Development at the University of Wolverhampton (British Council, 2024-03-09)
    The ‘Waiting for School’ 2022–2023 project explores English Language Teaching (ELT) provision for children from refugee and newly arrived backgrounds who are waiting for a school place, or who are newly arrived to school, in three areas of the West Midlands, UK. Underpinned by a social-practice perspective to language learning and teaching, the project expands understanding of wider interconnecting factors, such as conditions resulting from temporary accommodation, that shape the learning environments of children experiencing mobility. The project foregrounds the perspectives of 14 diverse practitioners including: primary and secondary school teachers; teachers in a Council-led transitory education provision; council professionals in English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher advisory roles; and refugee third sector practitioners working with newly arrived families in Birmingham, Sandwell, and Wolverhampton. The methodology drew on a participatory action research (PAR) approach, with the aim of supporting practitioners to shape and have some ownership of the research agenda and outputs. In this case, the participatory approach sought to foreground the experiences of professionals working across the schools’ sector, third sector and local government, to establish a broad picture of ELT practices and to conceptualise ‘newly arrived ELT resilience’ across different spaces, which come together in a hybrid third space. Overall, the project collates cross-sector expertise and effective practice to address identified gaps in professional development for supporting newly arrived children, including a selection of key recommendations for ELT practice.
  • A systematic review of evidence capturing efficacy of community and school-based approaches to knife crime intervention and prevention programs

    Wilkinson, Dean; Chopra, Isha; Badger, Sophie; Institute of Community Research and Development, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK (Emerald, 2024-03-28)
    Purpose Knife crime and serious violent crime (SVC) among youth has been growing at an alarming rate in the UK (Harding and Allen, 2021). Community and school-based intervention and prevention services to tackle knife crime are being developed with some evaluation; however, these are independent and of varied quality and rigour. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to record the approaches being developed and synthesise existing evidence of the impact and effectiveness of programmes to reduce knife crime. In addition, the complex factors contributing to knife crime and SVC are discussed. Design/methodology/approach A systematic approach was used to conduct this knife crime intervention evidence review using two search engines and four databases. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to ensure focus and relevance. The results of searches and decisions by the research team were recorded at each stage using Preferred Reporting Items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA). Findings Some evidence underpins the development of services to reduce knife crime. Much of the evidence comes from government funded project reports, intervention and prevention services reports, with few studies evaluating the efficacy of intervention programmes at present. Some studies that measured immediate impact in line with the programme’s aims were found and demonstrated positive results. Originality/value This systematic review specifically synthesised the evidence and data derived from knife crime and weapon carrying interventions and preventions, integrating both grey and published literature, with a novel discussion that highlights the importance of outcome evaluations and issues with measuring the success of individual level interventions and their contributions to the overall reduction of violence.
  • Why engaging young people in heritage is key to levelling up

    Blamire, Joshua; Elkington, Rob (Archives & Records Association, 2023-07-03)
  • ‘Nothing about us, without us’: involving people with lived experience of multiple disadvantage – learning from the Fulfilling Lives programme

    Wilson, Sophie (Bristol University Press, 2023-05-12)
    This paper presents learning and insights drawn from the Fulfilling Lives (FL) programme – an eight-year programme funded through the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) and delivered across 12 sites in England. The programme aimed to improve services for people facing multiple disadvantage (MD) and was delivered by 12 partnerships, each led by voluntary sector organisations (VSOs). The findings were supplemented by interviews carried out with delivery partners, stakeholders and people with lived experience (LE) from one of the 12 projects, Birmingham Changing Futures Together (BCFT). The review and supplementary interviews were conducted as part of a ‘scoping exercise’ designed to help the author shape and refine research questions at the outset of her doctoral study. The focus of this paper is the involvement of people with LE in the delivery of the NLCF FL programme. The research questions explored the mechanisms used to involve people with LE of MD, the impact that their involvement was found to have on effecting ‘systems change’ and some of the limiting factors to this involvement. The paper sets out the conditions needed to facilitate better involvement and considers what these insights offer for the future design and delivery of services for VSOs seeking to develop their approach to involving people with LE.
  • An evaluation of Wolverhampton's social prescribing service: a new route to wellbeing

    Massie, Rachel; Ahmad, Nahid (Institute for Community Research and Development, University of Wolverhampton, 2019-02-01)
  • An evaluation of a violence reduction partnership network: mixed methods network analysis

    Wilkinson, Dean; Thompson, Alison; Kerslake, Debbie; Chopra, Isha; Badger, Sophie (Emerald, 2023-09-27)
    Purpose The purpose of this paper was to report on the evaluation of the network and resources for violence prevention and reduction in the chosen area of focus. This area had experiences deprivation, significant implications due to Covid-19 restrictions and a lack of outdoor recreation space. Design/methodology/approach Network analysis methodologies are increasingly being used in criminological research and evaluations to assess the structures of social and economic networks. This study explored, using a mixed-methods network analysis methodology, the nature of the established violence reduction network in a specific geographical location in West Midlands. Findings A breadth of network activity is taking place across the community; however, the network analysis highlighted gaps in terms of specialist provision for early years and support from those with lived experience. It was perceived that a lack of continuity, in terms of changes in key roles, has affected the network. Funding mechanisms were perceived ineffective, and not encouraging of development of localisation services. Relationships between network members were predominantly positive with organisations having good communication and accessing support from one another; however, identifying shared goals and better collective working would benefit the network. Originality/value This study pioneers using an innovative, mixed methods network analysis to explore a public health approach to violence prevention and reduction. Quantitative data collection and analysis allowed for assessment of the networks capacity and density, whereas qualitative data provided insights and detailed accounts of how the network functions.
  • Psychological predictors of adolescent depression and anxiety symptoms across one season in grassroots netball

    Davies, Lucy E.; Turner, Martin; Hopley, Rachel; Slater, Matthew; Braithwaite, Elizabeth (Wiley, 2023-10-11)
    Much of our knowledge about the relationship between psychological variables related to sport and adolescent mental health is based on research from elite athletes. However, the vast majority of adolescents who engage in sports do so at the grassroots level. We therefore sought to understand how self-reported psychological variables and sleep may be associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety across one season in grassroots adolescent netball. We collected self-report, paper-based questionnaire data from adolescent netball players at one large netball club based in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom at the start of the season (timepoint 1, September 2018, N = 140) and end of the season (timepoint 2, March 2019, N = 132). Ages ranged from 11 to 19 (M = 13.54), which were categorized as under 14s (U14, ages 11–14) and under 19s (U19, ages 15–19). Participants self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety, basic psychological needs related to netball, demands and resources related to netball, and sleep quality at each time point. We used standardized residual change scores to test whether changes in the psychological variables related to their engagement in grassroots netball (basic psychological needs, demands and resources) and sleep quality were associated with changes in depression and anxiety symptoms over time. We report that increases in perceived sporting demands and reductions in sleep quality were associated with elevated symptoms of depression over the season. Reductions in perceptions of autonomy were associated with increases in symptoms of anxiety. We report novel evidence that self-reported, malleable psychological variables related to sports participation, and sleep quality, are associated with mental health in youth female athletes competing at the grassroots level. It would be worthwhile to explore whether mental health interventions and/or education delivered via grassroots sports clubs may be an effective method for promoting mental health resilience in adolescent athletes.
  • Beyond text: lessons learned from creative arts engagement with diverse communities in Walsall

    Røsnes, Irine; Rees, James; Puttick, Mary-Rose; Blamire, Joshua (Institute for Community Research and Development, University of Wolverhampton, 2023-10-02)
  • Brexit with a little ‘b’: navigating belonging, ordinary Brexits, and emotional relations

    Degnen, Cathrine; Tyler, Katharine; Blamire, Joshua (Wiley, 2023-10-10)
    This article analyses senses of belonging and belonging disrupted via the lens of Brexit with a little ‘b’: namely at the level of ordinary experiences in the flow of daily lives. Our interlocutors recount these as deeply emotionally charged experiences. Their accounts supplement and help nuance more widespread popular explanatory models of the referendum vote and its outcomes. Examining brexit through the intersection of belonging and emotion permits new insights into how place became linked in social imaginaries with Leave and Remain. It also permits closer analysis of how senses of belonging are relationally and differentially mediated by other identities, including class, race, ethnicity, and migration status, and how these intersect unevenly with and have a consequence for people's senses of belonging. This includes demonstrating how the privileged sense of belonging of many white middle-class Britons (both Leave- and Remain-supporting) was disrupted and their sense of ontological security jarred, as well as how people navigated the multiple social and cultural outcomes of the referendum in their daily lives, networks of intimate social relations, and local places.
  • Engaging parents to reduce youth violence: evidence from a youth justice board pathfinder programme

    Caulfield, Laura; Brooks-Wilson, Sarah; Booth, Jane; Monaghan, Mark (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023-09-20)
    The Youth Justice Board’s 2019-2022 strategic plan set youth violence as a priority. As part of this, a ‘pathfinder’ approach was launched to assist Local Authorities and their partners to devise, develop, and disseminate whole systems approaches to serious youth violence (Youth Justice Board, 2020). In partnership with a regional Violence Reduction Unit, seven local Youth Offending Teams worked together with a programme that facilitated peer support networks for parents of children known to the youth justice system. The programme presented a challenge to a view in statutory youth justice of parents as part of the problem (Burney & Gelsthorpe, 2009). The aim of the programme was to engage parents of young people involved in the youth justice system, facilitating peer to peer support through a blend of online and face to face meetings. Taking a mixed-methods approach, the research sought to investigate the impact of the programme on participants’ wellbeing and perceived competence with parenting. A secondary aim was to explore experiences of the self-care and peer support activities offered by the programme. The quantitative findings showed statistically significant increases in parents’ self-reported wellbeing and perceived competence with parenting during engagement with the programme. Effect sizes reached the minimum important difference for all of the quantitative measures, with a large effect for wellbeing The qualitative findings highlighted that the self-care focus was important in engaging parents and helps distinguish the programme from statutory services. The findings are combined in the paper to produce a potential model of peer support for parents of children known to the youth justice system. Future research should investigate the impact on the children of parents who took part in this programme with a specific focus on youth violence.
  • Building resilience and addressing vulnerabilities to serious and organised crime: the case of community coordinators

    Hadjisergis, Kyros; Caulfield, Laura; Uppal, Pravanjot (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2023-05-30)
    This paper presents findings from research into one of the Serious and Organised Crime Community Coordinator (SOC CC) pilots funded by the Home Office. Delivered in Birmingham UK between 2019 and 2021 by West Midlands Police, the SOC CC role included identifying community projects and building partnerships across statutory and voluntary sectors in high-need areas of the city. The research took a qualitative approach, interviewing 11 key stakeholders representing the programmes commissioned by the SOC CC, the Home Office, community partners, the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit, local schools, and West Midlands Police. The study focused on the potential of the pilot to develop community resilience and address vulnerabilities through a whole-system approach and commissioning of resources from statutory, police, and third-party stakeholders. The findings highlight successes and barriers to the role. The data revealed four sources of commitment necessary for success: the commitment of the CC (Internal), the commitment of the commissioned partners and the Police (Institutional), the commitment of the targeted communities and its concerned individuals (Community), and the commitment of funding and resources (Operational). The findings presented here are applicable to post-pilot CCs and also to the scaffolding of similar initiatives, such as Violence Reduction Unit Community Navigators.
  • Reimagining the language of disability and inclusion in primary teacher education through a translanguaging framework

    Luong Thi Thu, Thuy; Trang Thu, Dinh Nguyen; Puttick, Mary-Rose; Blackburn, Carolyn (Taylor & Francis, 2023-06-07)
    Whilst words such as ‘disability’ and ‘inclusion’ have some shared meanings across cultural and linguistic contexts, they also have meanings that are fluid and changing according to individual, institutional, and environmental dimensions. Deconstructing these differential understandings in special education needs and disabilities (SEND) provision is essential to challenge deeply-rooted societal deficit-based assumptions and stigmatisation that can have detrimental impacts on children and young people’s life experiences. In this UK-Vietnam collaborative project we aimed to uncover the ‘languaging of disability and inclusion’, using Vietnamese primary teacher education as an illustrative case study with experiential insights gathered from primary school teachers, leaders and teacher educators. This paper presents findings from our six in-depth qualitative interviews. Our analytical framework, informed by key concepts in translanguaging and affective pedagogies, enables us to uncover nuances in meanings that went beyond solely Vietnamese-English linguistic translations, to take account of semiotic understandings, body language, and movement. Key findings revealed a prevailing medical-based terminology associated with SEND, practice-based contradictions attached to bureaucratic recognitions of disability, as well as repertoires associated with ‘circles of friendship’. Our paper opens up an international dialogue that both challenges potentially homogenising and harmful labelling processes and celebrates the sharing of asset-based languaging practices.
  • Conspicuous by their absence – reclaiming the silenced voices of black women in the criminal justice system

    McLean, Paula; Caulfield, Laura (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2023-05-17)
    Despite being the most overrepresented group of women in the Criminal Justice System (CJS), a significant lack of attention has been paid to Black women in academic literature and government policy in relation to this disparity. Using a Black feminist lens, this article seeks to illuminate the mistreatment, neglect, discrimination, and oppression experienced by these women once in the CJS. The research highlights their voices and experiences through a process of Narrative Interviewing, one of the most effective tools for collecting data from marginalised groups, and the use of Critical Race Feminism as the theoretical framework that assists in providing powerful counter narratives. Eight women with experience of imprisonment in England and Wales were interviewed, producing 21 in-depth interviews. This article explores key themes including racist stereotyping, poor healthcare, and lack of rehabilitative services and presents participant’s narratives alongside case examples. The data suggests that, in an already problematic system, poor treatment and negative experiences are due to intersectional factors such as race, gender, religion, and class. The article ends with some considerations of how to minimise exclusionary practices and integrating Black women’s narratives into solutions to the highlighted issues.
  • Young people’s engagements with heritage: Tackling inequality & other opportunities for public policy

    Blamire, Joshua; Rees, James; Elkington, Rob; Arts Connect; Institute for Community Research and Development; Historic England (Institute for Community Research and Development, University of Wolverhampton, 2023-05-15)
    In 2021 Historic England commissioned Arts Connect and the Institute for Community Research and Development to investigate and report on the value and impact of young people’s engagements with heritage. We had observed that there are clear signs of increasing interest in heritage amongst young people across both informal and extracurricular settings such as social media and in the street. Whilst some research has shown that programmes designed to engage young people do support a range of personal, social, health, and learning benefits, existing evidence was thin in regard to the impact that a focus on heritage – especially outside of school – has in these areas. Our research was given additional urgency by the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and the renewed focus on place, particularly those that are described as being ‘left behind’. In this context, understanding the role and value of heritage in generating positive social, economic, and health outcomes is vital in order to inform future activities, to influence public policy, and to better make the case for public investments into the heritage sector. We hope this research will be useful to those working as policymakers and practitioners in heritage and youth work.
  • Reflections on good practice in evaluating violence reduction units: Experiences from across England and Wales

    Caulfield, Laura; Quigg, Zara; Adams-Quackenbush, Nicole; Timpson, Hannah; Wilson, Sophie (SAGE, 2023-07-03)
    Internationally, interpersonal violence places huge burdens on the health, wellbeing and prosperity of society. In response to a notable increase in serious knife crime, in 2019 the UK Government awarded £35 million for the establishment of 18 Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) across England and Wales. There has been limited evaluation of community level approaches for violence, with almost no published literature on the impact of VRUs. The paper presents the approaches and experiences of two interdisciplinary teams of researchers from public health, psychology, criminology, and systems change, working as evaluators of four VRUs in England and Wales. The paper describes the value of adopting a whole-system approach to evaluation s, outlines good practice in evaluating VRUs, and elicits challenges to developing and embedding evaluation within complex systems.
  • Too hot to handle: African Caribbean pupils and students as toxic consumers and commodities in the educational market

    Hamilton, Dennis George (Taylor & Francis, 2017-09-21)
    Secondary sources are used in this paper to highlight how African Caribbean pupils and students – the Black British-born descendants of post-war Caribbean migrants – are victims of symbolic violence, because they are denied the educational capital needed to improve their social status. Since African Caribbean children entered the 1960s British educational sector, their learning has been perceived as problematic by the State. Although assimilation, integration and multicultural education policies were implemented to supposedly address the ‘problem’ of educating Black children, subsequent government reports identified racism as a significant barrier in their education. I argue here that the contemporary marketisation of education makes it increasingly difficult to distinguish between racism and competition, as causal factors of ethnic differences in educational attainment. Moreover, due to increasing private sector intervention and decreasing mediation by the State, racism is now hidden within the vicissitudes of the educational market. School exclusions and discriminatory practices in universities are viewed in this paper as major barriers to the economic success and future social mobility of Black Caribbean pupils and students. I conclude by suggesting that marketisation policies can be appropriated to ameliorate racism in education, but only if the political will to do so exists.
  • “I’ll live better, stay away from crime": Exploring the reintegration of former prisoners into the community through a music programme

    Hopley, Rachel; Caulfield, Laura; Jolly, Andy (Emerald, 2023-08-16)
    Purpose There is evidence that music programmes can have a positive impact on people in contact with the criminal justice system. However, little attention has been paid to the potential role of music programmes as people leave prison and re-enter the community. Providing support for former prisoners ‘through-the-gate’ is important to aid resettlement and reduce risk of reoffending. This paper presents research on a programme called Sounding Out: a two year, London-based programme, providing ex-prisoners with longer-term rehabilitative opportunities upon their release to bridge the gap between life inside and outside of prison. Design/methodology/approach The study aimed to understand the impact of the Sounding Out programme on ex-prisoners from the perspective of participants, staff and family members. Semi-structured interviews took place with 17 people: 10 participants across two Sounding Out projects; six members of staff - three from the Irene Taylor Trust, two musicians, and one former prison worker; and one family member of a participant. Findings The research provides an understanding of the impact of involvement in a carefully designed programme of music creation, skills development, and work placements. Thematic analysis of the data resulted in three key themes: personal impact; focus and direction; interpersonal relationships. The findings are consistent with the body of research that demonstrates the impact of music programmes on prisoners. Originality The current study adds to the relatively limited body of evidence on the role of music programmes in the reintegration of former prisoners into the community.
  • Exploring the impact of music on children at risk of contact with the criminal justice system

    Caulfield, Laura; Sojka, Bozena (Emerald, 2023-02-02)
    Purpose Previous research has demonstrated the positive impact of participation in a music programme run by a Youth Offending Team in England. While the previous research focused solely on children involved with the criminal justice system, this current paper reports findings from research extended to young people identified as ‘at risk’ of involvement with the criminal justice system, vulnerable, or disengaged. Design/methodology/approach A mixed-methods approach was taken, using quantitative measures of the primary outcomes (educational engagement, well-being, musical development, and& attitudes and & behaviour), complemented and extended by semi-structured interviews with a sample of participants. Findings Analysis of the quantitative data from 57 participants showed significant improvements in self-reported engagement with education, musical ability, and well-being. In-depth interviews with 11 participants added a depth of understanding about children’s experiences of the programme and the impact they felt, providing a safe space and improved confidence and well-being. Originality This paper builds on previous research in schools and youth justice settings by presenting findings on the impact of a music programme on the educational engagement and wellbeing of children identified as at-risk of offending, vulnerable, or disengaged.

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