London Borough of Hillingdon Connecting Communities Support and Development Needs Programme

Richard Tomlins

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This research aimed to: 1. Identify the general support and development needed by BAME community organisations to operate effectively. 2. Identify the support and development needs of BAME communities, who have not formed community groups or networks, to organise in some way to voice their needs. And as subsidiary aims: 3. Discover what BAME communities think about the effectiveness of council services. 4. Increase the opportunities for individuals and communities to participate in future forums. 5. Connect with smaller BAME communities and those living in the semi-rural north of the borough. The Race and Ethnic Diversity Research and Policy Partnership (REDRAPP), De Montfort University and 1990 Trust conducted the research using the 'social action research model'. This has provided people from local BAME communities with quality training allowing them to play a significant role in developing research instruments, before conducting and assisting in the analysis of the research. Thirty two focus groups and 40 semi-structured interviews were completed across a wide range of BAME groups (see Appendices 1 and 2). Over 300 people participated in this research project. Many of the participants of focus groups were not members of any organised groups and had had minimal contact with the council. Several groups had participants from wide geographical areas. Results from focus groups and interviews are presented under the headings of the topic guides which were used for the focus groups. In addition there is a discrete section on health. Questions originally designed for minority groups were not always appropriate for every group particularly for Travellers and for some Somalian groups. One of the focus group facilitators put together what she thought to be a more relevant set of questions for Travellers and this was warmly welcomed by the researchers who believe it is critical that people develop methods of inquiry most relevant to them. The findings from the Travellers’ focus groups (which were a collection of family and individual interviews due to the difficulties in getting groups together) are extremely rich data sources and could form the basis of a separate report and more extensive inquiry. There was a great deal of initial scepticism from community members involved about what the project would achieve and whether there would be any real support for the groups as a result. These sensitivities revealed through the setting up of focus groups are extremely important for officers to take on board. Following an interim report in September 2001 interviews with key personnel in Hillingdon were conducted as there was perceived to be a lack of information about what was already happening in Hillingdon. Our original brief was to examine BAME needs in Hillingdon and after further discussion to also explore perceptions of the council. The interviews with key personnel was an additional agreement and had two strands, one to find out what the council or other agencies were doing with regard to key issues of BAME communities and also to see what they thought needs might be, including how they found this out Findings included:  A mismatch between community perceptions of council and other authorities’ services and what these authorities state they are doing  The community consortium is a very welcome move forward but care must be taken not to overload the group.  There was a unanimous perception of lack of information about funding and how to make applications (this was both in regard to the council and other external sources)  Information with regard to premises for meetings and for community lease or purchase was required, in addition to information about which voluntary groups already utilise council premises.  Capacity building is required in a variety of forms – technical and functional skills, self-organisation and confidence building.  Widespread concern over safety and discrimination  A need for better rationalisation and clarity about council services especially with regard to equalities strategies  While some individuals in the Council had clear understandings of equality issues strategic approaches needed development.  Widespread concern about education relating to minority groups  Policing in Hillingdon seems to be proactive and the police willing to engage with equality issues but barriers still exist. Under-resourcing means attention to clear up rates particularly with regard to racial attacks is not as the police or community would wish.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages97
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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