The Role of Communities and Connections in Social Welfare Legal Advice

This research project is funded by The British Academy, in partnership with the Nuffield Foundation, as part of ‘Understanding Communities’; a £1.1 million research programme to strengthen communities’ role in wellbeing.

It will examine how community characteristics and social networks affect people’s access to advice through the lens of four case study local areas. GMCVO will lead on the research activities of the project in Greater Manchester, using the borough of Rochdale as a case study. 

The research team, led by Sarah Nason at Bangor University, are looking at the role of locality and identity-based organisations in helping people access advice, and exploring how access to advice services interacts with community connectedness, equality, and wellbeing.

The research team will conduct a literature review, stakeholder workshops, survey of social welfare law advice providers, focus groups, interviews with people with social welfare legal advice needs, and social network analysis.  

The research will be aimed at informing practitioners and policymakers about ways in which social welfare legal advice can become more accessible. The project will produce a main report in Spring 2023, alongside short thematic policy briefing papers.

The project will consider the role of communities and connections in social welfare legal advice, which includes advice around benefits, debt, employment, housing, immigration, education, and community care. 

Please visit the Nuffield Foundation website here for a more detailed overview.

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Why are we doing it?

People seeking social welfare legal advice often have very low incomes and limited access to legal aid. Through this research project, we will provide evidence for policymakers and practitioners to respond to local needs and overcome barriers to access.

How can you get involved?

We are looking for Rochdale-based organisations that provide social welfare legal advice to participate in this study.

Please get in touch if you know of any organisations that fit this description.

For more information, or to stay informed about this project, please contact Susanne Martikke. EMAIL SUSANNE


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