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.
In 2009, Mapping for Change supported communities across London to measure and map local air quality. Use of a ‘citizen science’ approach meant local residents in seven locations were able to collect data, then see the real results of their monitoring activities, and subsequently embark on a campaign to see the serious results addressed.
MyAccessible.EU is a three year research project funded by the European Commission. It aims to make cities’ built environment more accessible for disabled and older people by challenging social attitudes, raising awareness and delivering assistive mobile applications. These mobile applications will provide tools for collectively gathering and sharing information about accessibility of public spaces.
In 2012, the Big Lottery Fund in England invested £1 million in 150 neighbourhoods for its Big Local initiative. Northfleet, Kent, was one of the first 50 to be selected. The grant aimed to equip local communities with skills and tools to identify key areas and issues where action was reqiored in their area.