This research project was developed to explore the types of social infrastructure that people aged 50 and over from ethnic minority communities use in specific places.
The aim of this project is to understand how organisations working with ethnic minority groups engage with older members from their community and how this might have changed over time and to explore how individuals from ethnic minority communities use places, organisations and services for social contact and interaction.
Initially, five research reports were produced (see below for details). Our Researcher based at MICRA has conducted a meta-analysis of these five reports resulting in the final report, Ageing in Place for Minority Ethnic communities: The importance of social infrastructure.
This report has found that:
Weaker social connections, informal and often fleeting interactions in shared spaces, are particularly important for maintaining a sense of cultural or religious identity and for feeling a sense of connection to the neighbourhoods in which they live.
It is important that older people with a shared cultural identity have places where they can meet to maintain their sense of identity, and to maintain relationships and networks between people who share some form of commonality.
Community and voluntary organisations that were led from within minority ethnic communities, as well as other vital social infrastructure such as parks and shopping spaces need investment and support to continue to exist.
Specialist funding and support is vital for organisations working with minority ethnic groups. These groups provide significant social value so funders should consider how they can contribute to an equitable partnership working model.
As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, the planning and re-design of public and shared spaces must be supported so they can meet both socially distancing guidelines and age-friendly principles to ensure there is a social space for local people.
More research is needed to explore different ways of supporting communities and how the voluntary sector can meet the needs of older people from different minority ethnic backgrounds.
This report was launched at our conference, BAME Ageing in the Community, on 25th August 2020. The event featured speakers from across the Ageing Better partnerships on topics ranging from setting up BAME Networks to funding culturally-specific financial inclusion projects in addition to an introduction to the findings of the report from the report authors and a workshop on next steps led by our keynote speaker, Patrick Vernon OBE. The recording of the event, including the workshops, is now available online in a handy YouTube playlist so you can watch back some or all of the event. You can find it here.
The project is a part of Ageing Better, which is a National Lottery Community Fund programme which funds fourteen partnerships across the UK, one of which is Ambition for Ageing. Five of these fourteen partnerships took part in this research project; Birmingham, Camden, Hackney, Leicester and Manchester. Read their individual reports here.