Taking Part? is an Economic & Social Research Centre (ESRC) research cluster for developing high quality research and a critical mass around active citizenship and community empowerment with the Third Sector. It is a partnership between researchers from the University of LincolnGoldsmiths University of London and Manchester Metropolitan University funded by the ESRC in partnership with The Office for the Third Sector and the Barrow Cadbury Trust.

The Taking Part? research cluster:

  • is one of the three clusters supporting the Third Sector Research Centre including Social Enterprise Capacity Building Cluster and the Economic Impact Capacity Building Cluster.
  • is building upon the research expertise of the three universities and the track record of the national Take Part Network promoting its approach to bring together local, regional and national third sector organisations and higher education institutions, concerned with strengthening civil society: promoting active citizenship, equalities and community empowerment
  • is developing innovative approaches to community engagement and empowerment, issues of central importance to the Third Sector, as well as to the public and private sectors. Previous research within the partner agencies has focussed upon facilitating user and community audit and voice in service planning and service delivery, across statutory, private and Third Sector organisations. 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
  • Take Part Research Programme Leads  an ESRC Take Part Research Cluster for community engagement originated  within the Take Part Network  which have supported adult community-based learning and research, encouraging active citizenship in England through the collaboration between several HEIs and many community groups and Third Sector organizations since 2002.
  • The Take Part approach to gather, produce and share research evidence achieved recognition in the White Paper ‘Strong and Prosperous Communities’ ( 2006 ) and  ‘Real People Real Power’ (2008) and led to Take Part Programme receiving an £8.7M national programme that supported more than 8,000 people to understand and overcome barriers to participation managed by Community Development Foundation -Take Part Programme – evaluation report 2011. The Take Part articulated by seven National hubs National, in a Learning Framework for active citizenship learning in 2006 and updated version 2011, which is available online and used by community organisations nationally and internationally.


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