Community Engagement CBC

Taking part? Strengthening Civil Society Promoting active citizenship, equalities and community empowerment

Led by Lincoln University, in partnership with London Goldsmiths University and Manchester Metropolitan University. This research cluster is developing innovative approaches to community engagement and empowerment. The cluster has a particular emphasis upon enabling the voices of the most disadvantaged groups to be heard effectively, as part of wider agendas for social change, social solidarity and social justice.

Latest research: 


Here we Stand: Inquiry into Local Activism and Dissent (March 2013)

This report presents the findings of a research study undertaken as a collaborative effort between National Coalition for Independent Action (NCIA) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) between June and November 2012 as part of the ESRC funded ‘Taking Part Capacity Building Cluster (CBC). The inquiry explored two main questions: Where can resistance and alternatives to injustice be found? Where are the homes for such action?

Report (pdf 1MB) | More information at takepartresearchcluster.org

Surviving, Thriving or Dying: Resilience and small community groups in the North West of Englan

What are the resilience needs and strategies that will help the survival of small voluntary and community sector organisations in the North West?

This research took place between July 2011 and February 2012 and was carried out as part of the Taking Part Capacity Building Research Cluster, based at the Community Audit and Evaluation Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University, which is working with research partners across the country. The responses from 215 groups across the North West with incomes of less than £50,000 pa has shown the diversity and fragility of these groups as well as helped indicate the requirements needed for their resilience and survival.

Report (pdf, 676KB) | Summary report (pdf, 373KB)

Aspirations and engagement: strategies for working with young black men

This research was aimed at soliciting the views of community members on issues relating to young Black  men’s aspirations through exploring their participation attitudes towards education, employment, and training as well as opportunities for volunteering. The research also sought to identify strategies for enabling the effective participation of young Black men aged 14-19 in culturally specific personal development programmes in areas of masculinity, racial identity, emotional literacy community and citizenship. The research took place during January - April 2011 as part of the Taking Part? Capacity Building Cluster (CBC) at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

Report (PDF, 400KB)

Was it worth it? Research report on the Project Towpath Community Grants initiative

This report presents the findings of a research study undertaken as a collaborative effort between Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) between March-July 2010 as part of the ‘Taking Part Capacity Building Cluster (CBC). The study aimed to develop understanding between academia and the third sector by facilitating an extended period of engagement between the two organisations, via a research fellowship placement.

Executive summary | report

CASE Studentships


Goldsmiths University London

  • In Partnership with Exeter CVS. Focusing on citizen empowerment, including the sustainability of empowerment programmes over time
  • In Partnership with Somali youth Organisation. Focusing on the role of young Somali people’s  self-organisation, addressing issues of  community cohesion and empowerment
  • In Partnership with South Wales WEA. Focusing on the role of third sector organisations, promoting citizenship education for empowerment in the context of devolution

University of Lincoln

  • In Partnership with Community Empowerment Programme /Local Government Authorities in Lincolnshire. Focusing on communications structures enabling community empowerment in Lincolnshire

Manchester Metropolitan University

  • In Partnership with Gender and Participation Unit (GAP). Focusing on the meaning and manifestations of 'empowerment' in diverse grassroots women's organisations- how is personal and collective empowerment experienced and harnessed for social and political gains?
  • A second partnership, agreed with Manchester Refugee Support Network, is currently being advertised and due to commence in January. The research question is: An exploration of the role of a membership network and how it can best support the interests or RCO’s and underrepresented groups, (e.g. women) within the Refugee and Asylum seeker communities. This will use MRSN as a case study and work across other Networks for comparison.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)


University of Lincoln

  • In partnership with Children’s Links.  The KTP will provide the organisation with new capacity for community based training related to community empowerment, active citizenship and youth work. It is expected to start in January 2010.

Goldsmiths University London

  • An upcoming partnership is planned with the multi-faith regeneration network and the Community Sector Coalition. It will focus on the role of umbrella organisations and networks in the current policy context - how do they most effectively support their member organisations, without speaking on their behalf, enabling them to make their voices heard in a policy context in which larger organisations are becoming increasingly predominant, with increasing pressures to focus upon government led agendas, and associated dangers of mission drift.

More information and opportunities.