BCU researchers to help improve quality of life for residents in East Birmingham

Woman donating clothes community charity donations center Researchers in the School of Social Sciences are working directly with local residents from East Birmingham to support Birmingham City Council’s strategy on how to improve quality of life and essential services in the area.

The partnership with Birmingham City Council (BCC) contributes directly to the East Birmingham Inclusive Growth Strategy. The strategy sets out to achieve a future for East Birmingham as ‘an excellent place for strong communities in which to live and work, to grow up and grow old.’

With much of East Birmingham among the top 20% most deprived areas in England, BCU is working with local representatives and stakeholders, and will recruit and train local people and BCU students as community-based researchers to co-produce and identify priorities that will make a big difference to the lives of residents.

A community-led approach

Despite several strengths, East Birmingham’s levels of income, unemployment, health, education, housing, crime and living environment are generally poorer than elsewhere in the country.

The project, led by researchers Professor Harris Beider, Kusminder Chahal and Giulia Pizzolini, will consist of a community needs assessment and local research projects identified by the community researchers in three areas across East Birmingham. This community-led approach will ensure that all aspects of the project is co-designed and co-produced to directly serve the local areas in East Birmingham.

Through this work, the project will create opportunities for local people to develop their skills, access to education and training, and support residents to influence local decision-making.    

Impacting on East Birmingham’s Growth

The results of the project will impact directly on BCC’s East Birmingham Inclusive Growth Strategy. The findings will provide local knowledge on how to overcome barriers around employment, health, local infrastructure and green spaces.

Researchers also anticipate other benefits, such as creating a toolkit for future community engagement and equipping trained local researchers in East Birmingham with the knowledge to get involved with future BCC initiatives.

Core to the research is the establishment of regular problem solving events where residents, stakeholders, BCU and the Council can collaborate to find solutions to local issues.

"BCU as the University for Birmingham is well placed to undertake this project with Birmingham City Council particularly given many of our students are from within the City and East Birmingham and can share their experiences and be a bridge between local residents and anchor organisations."

- Giulia Pizzolini, Research Assistant