Better Start Blackpool – Activate and Community Development Research
The Better Start Blackpool project is one of five sites across England to have received 10 years funding from the Big Lottery (£215million). There purpose is to enhance life chances for 0-4 year olds within a family and community context, Blackpool has chosen to take a Community Development approach in the way they carry out their work.
Last year, following on from our participation in the Better Start Blackpool conference, we delivered our first Activate course to a group of 16 local community activists and project workers for the Better Start Blackpool project. This was a huge success and one that will be replicated in the coming months with a further two courses totalling £13,500. During this time the Community Development team met with Better Start senior management team to discuss further opportunities to work alongside them.
These conversations have resulted in an agreement to carry-out a longitudinal research study over the remaining 7 years of the project, this will be done incrementally. An initial research grant of £46,330.26 has been awarded to carry out a base line study that captures the Blackpool story so far. This will provide a contextual documentation and grounding of where the project started and its initial aspirations. It will also track the changes to date and the vision for the future. In addition, this Baseline Study will interview community representatives in the prioritised wards/communities to capture their perspective of initial community engagement, expectations and experience.
In addition, two staff from the senior management from Better Start have begun their PHD journey within the Community Development team. We hope this partnership between Better Start Blackpool and the University of Glasgow Community Development team continues to prosper and has lasting positive impact on Communities in Blackpool.