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Disadvantaged communities can solve their own problems suggests LSE academic

Neighbourhood problems such as graffiti, alcoholism and street crime need to be tackled from within communities by residents, alongside outside agencies such as the police and social services.

This is the central proposal of a new book by Liz Richardson, associate of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE.

DIY Community Action: neighbourhood problems and community self-help, discusses how people can be persuaded to take more control of their own lives, affecting change in their communities and work with external agencies to jointly improve quality of life in poor areas.

The book looks at how we currently promote engagement, what could be done to motivate people to become more active, and more fundamentally about the ongoing relevance and value of community activity.

DIY Community Action offers thought-provoking answers to these questions, based on detailed real-life evidence from over 100 community groups, each trying to combat neighbourhood problems. All of the groups have been supported by the National Communities Resource Centre at Trafford Hall which offered training and small grants to start projects such as community cafes, youth projects, community allotments, social events and other grass-roots projects.

Author Liz Richardson said: 'Many bodies want more community activity, but feel that people are disengaged. Community self-help gives triple benefits in improving services, renewing neighbourhoods and reviving democracy, but these roles are often under-recognised and need to be championed more widely'.

Liz Richardson will launch DIY Community Action: neighbourhood problems and community self-help as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science at two events:

  • a community seminar on Monday 10 March from 10.30am, at Trafford Hall, Ince Lane, Wimbolds Trafford, Chester, CH2 4JP contact Chris Locker by emailing c.locker@traffordhall.com 
  • a seminar at LSE on Wednesday 12 March, 4.30-6pm, Michio Morishima conference room (R505), 5th Floor, Research Laboratory, 10 Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HD. This event, followed by a drinks reception, is free but booking is essential. To request a seat for this event, contact Anna Tamas on ext 6562 or email a.tamas@lse.ac.uk. For a press seat please contact Esther Avery, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7060 or by emailing e.avery@lse.ac.uk 

Contact

Liz Richardson, is a CASE Associate, and research fellow at the Institute for Political and Economic Governance, University of Manchester. Email liz.richardson@manchester.ac.uk| or call 0161 275 0879/07765 603420

Esther Avery, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7060 or by emailing e.avery@lse.ac.uk|

Notes to editors

For a review copy of DIY Community Action: neighbourhood problems and community self-help contact Jacqueline Lawless, marketing manager, The Policy Press, on 0117 331 4097 or by emailing jacqueline.lawless@bristol.ac.uk|

Notes

DIY Community Action: neighbourhood problems and community self-help by Liz Richardson is published by The Policy Press, price £23.99, ISBN 978 1 84742 084 8. It is available to buy from www.policypress.org.uk| or from Marston Book Services, PO Box 269, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4YN Tel: 01235 465500, Fax 01235 465556 email direct.orders@marston.co.uk| (Please add £2.75 p&p).

The National Communities Resource Centre at Trafford Hall is a registered charity offering training and support to all those living and working in low-income areas throughout the United Kingdom to develop their skills, confidence and capacity to tackle problems and reverse poor conditions.

With over ten years experience of providing training and support to people in low-income communities across the country, Trafford Hall has developed its successful Training First model and provides small seed funding grants, to enable community groups to have a practical and positive impact on their local community, after they have been to Trafford Hall.

All courses are residential and aim to bring people together to share ideas and experiences, learn new skills and increase levels of confidence. The courses, which are designed to meet the needs of a diverse range of families, young people and adults are regularly evaluated to ensure that they are achieving the charity's aims.  

4 March 2008

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