Research in the Field: Community and Connection

This event is part of our month-long programme for national conference, from October 18th to November 16th 2022. This programme consists of eleven different events, and the majority are FREE. See our full conference programme HERE.

About this event: 

Our three keynotes for this event on Tuesday 8th November are: The University of Essex; A Better Way; and the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO). All keynotes will be discussing the topic of community and connection. To embrace the theme of this event in full, we have ensured there are networking opportunities at this event too. So come online, say hello to everyone, make new connections and grow your network while learning from others.


Within your booking confirmation email you will be sent a link to a Microsoft Form that must be filled in prior to the event. Please ensure you follow this link and complete the form. 


What is the agenda? 

What are the keynotes covering? 


University of Essex: 

We have found in our research and in discussion with others that connectedness is thought of and measured in a variety of ways, which poses barriers for programmes that seek to improve social connections and measure their impact and progress. Our work focuses on identifying key indicators of social connectedness in the existing literature, knowledge synthesis and collaborative efforts to advance our understanding of connectedness. We are a group of 30+ researchers, voluntary and community organisation representatives, whose aim is to inform research and evaluation of social connectedness in practice and to map the policy impact approaches in this area. We are looking to share with you our findings on social connectedness concepts and measures, impact of social connectedness on health and recommendations for those working to implement initiatives that aim to improve social connectedness. 

A Better Way: 

A Better Way is a network of people working together to improve services, build strong communities and bring about a fairer society. People come to the network for a variety of reasons: to gain and share ideas, to pause and reflect, to make new connections and meet people from different sectors, and to work with others to build momentum for wider change. This network welcomes those at the frontline of community practice as well as thought leaders from across public, private and voluntary spheres - recognising the shared benefits of bringing people together from different backgrounds and with different life experiences. "The greater our diversity, in every sense, the more we learn from each other and by joining forces we’re more likely to achieve the change we want to see." This keynote will share their 'Behaviours for a Better Way' to assist with creating positive impact and influencing change in communities.


Thea Monk, Programme Manager and Sharon Summers, Project Officer from GMCVO will present findings from the report ‘It’s not just about place, it’s about people too”. The report recognises that place-based approaches have limitations in terms of meeting the needs of all marginalised groups meaning that these kinds of approaches can further exclude marginalised older people who are members of dispersed communities of identity or experience. They will introduce a tool developed to identify and co-produce with marginalised groups within neighbourhoods. During the session, you will be guided through the unique model - a spatial approach to working with marginalised communities.


This event is free to members of Befriending Networks, and £20 for non-members. If you are a member of Befriending Networks please make sure to log in or you will be charged to attend. 


You can contact the conference planning team via email: 

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