Engaging a diverse community to achieve cohesion in Slough


Background

M·E·L Research was commissioned by Slough Borough Council (SBC), on behalf the Community Cohesion Priority Delivery Group (CCPDG), in January 2013 to undertake an investigative piece of research to understand issues surrounding community cohesion across Slough.

Realising that this piece of research is a vitally important tool in supporting the Borough’s commitment to strengthening community cohesion and tackling the challenges of a rapidly changing and markedly diverse population, instead of approaching the task as an “one off survey”, M·E·L Research adopted a highly specialized process of community engagement by incorporating various research methods to maximise the value of the research. The outcomes of the study have been fed into a wider action plan to help deliver SBC’s Community Cohesion Strategy - Living together 2013-2015.

Methodology

In total, 1, 216 residents from across Slough took part in the study. Qualitative engagement was achieved through:

  • In-depth interviews with community group leaders.
  • Chattabout sessions – an adapted form of focus groups where we proactively reach out to participants in informal, community settings.
  • Quantitative data was gathered using structured questionnaires:
  • Door-to-door / on-street resident survey;
  • Telephone surveys with community groups;
  • Online survey returns from residents and community groups

Outcomes

The investigative study into one of the UK's most diverse boroughs identified practical actions to enable all residents to feel a sense of belonging. The findings are in line with recent UK Government thinking on the issue - highlighting how the development of strong, cohesive communities relies on residents working together to develop locally based solutions.

MRS Evidence Matters