We are delighted to announce that we are one of the official partners of Community Engagement for Social Inclusion (COMENSI), an EU project which aims to understand the lack of participation amongst adults, in formal consultations within deprived neighbourhoods.
Over the past few years, research has shown that voting and many other forms of civic participation are in decline in Europe today. Many obstacles have been shown to affect people’s willingness and ability to be politically and civically involved. These include everything from poverty to lack of attention to public affairs and complacency. Citizens who do not engage with civic activity, do not feel any particular need to make their voices heard when it comes to social policies and therefore just leave it to others. It is a testimony to the flaws in our educational system, which proves that the voting-age population lack the knowledge to act on issues that directly impact them. If policymakers could understand the needs and ideas of the most disadvantaged adults, it could help to reduce their risk of social exclusion and provide benefit for the whole community.
Community Engagement for Social Inclusion (COMENSI) is a two-year project that aims to understand why marginalised adults do not participate and what tools and strategies could be developed to change this and increase engagement. Mapping for Change will work with project partners in five deprived EU urban neighbourhoods across Europe and create a network of adult educators and professionals to explore the problems and potential solutions.
The project will hope to build social cohesion among 50 disadvantaged adults by reinforcing their role as residents and citizens and by promoting their active participation in the local communities. We will be working with disadvantaged adults (age 18-59) from different backgrounds and other professionals in the field of adult education. We will build a toolkit and digital platform to help assess people’s needs and ideas for improving their neighbourhood. A physical community hub will be established to enable discussion and ongoing participation.
Mapping for Change will join four other partners 4 Change, Tesserae, Bond of Union, and Prostorož who have extensive experience of working within deprived communities in Berlin, Lisbon, Ljubljana and Palermo and we are delighted to be collaborating with them on this project to provide a strong international dimension.
WeGovNow is a three year research and innovation project focusing on civic participation in local government. It aims to change the relationship between citizens and local governments, transforming the citizen’s role from customer into partner. This is to be achieved with the development of a single community engagement platform, where citizens can interact with their governments and participate in local decision-making.
Mapping for Change in collaboration with the Humanities Education Centre (HEC) and local specialist on learning and ‘place’ Maggie Hewitt, worked with three schools in Tower Hamlets (Columbia School Community Map, Arnhem Wharf School Community Map and John Scurr School Community Map) to pilot a brand new process in which Year 4 pupils develop personalised maps of their local area with their own likes, memories and views on change.