Toynbee Hall launches two new community-led projects to make communities safer and renting fairer for younger people

Toynbee Hall launches two new community-led projects to make communities safer and renting fairer for younger people

Building safer and more welcoming communities

Toynbee Hall has launched two new ground breaking projects, where local people with no previous experience, will be trained to become social researchers in their communities, developing solutions and campaigning for change.

As an organisation committed to making Tower Hamlets a fairer and more inclusive place to live, we want to better our understanding of the issues local residents face by commissioning research by the community, for the community. This lived experience of private renting and issues around community safety will help form a set of recommendations to shape policy and build stronger communities.

This follows on from a similar project we ran last year where local older people went out into their communities to interview their peers to find out what the biggest concerns were for older people in Tower Hamlets. The biggest concern was neighborhood safety. Now we want to use this same community-led approach to build on these findings and find out how we can help build safer and more welcoming homes and communities.

At a recent launch event we heard from researchers from the older people’s Peer Action Researchers about the impact that participating in the research project has had on their skills development and also their self-confidence. We then had an in-depth discussion between a mix of partner organisations, funders and local people to examine key issues around safety and private renting, and how the research can be used to influence and make positive change.

Evidence from across other Toynbee Hall services also showed that private renting was driving many people into debt, with young people increasingly coming to us for debt advice. We will now train two groups to interview, research and analyse data to put together a set of recommendations around how policies can more effectively meet the needs of local people.

The building safer communities Project will run for two and a half years and is funded by Trust for London. The first year will be the research phase, the second will be the campaigning phase and the last six months will be for reflections and evaluation. The fairer renting project will run for two years and is funded by The Berkeley Foundation.

“Traditional research is often conducted in ways that disempower people, carried out on them and written about them, without their close involvement. At Toynbee Hall we envision research differently, using our distinctive community and peer led approach to provide local people with the resources, platform, and training they need to carry out research that is important to them. We are really excited to support local people from Tower Hamlets across these two exciting new projects to work towards positive change for both themselves and their community, on the issues that really matter to them.”

Philip Mullen, Research Manager, Toynbee Hall

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