Addressing children's needs in Banes

Posted in: Local and civic engagement

In a groundbreaking initiative, stakeholders from diverse backgrounds are coming together for an event titled "Addressing children’s needs: Socio-economic deprivation, mental health, education & justice in Bath and North East Somerset." This is the first community summit of its type, and aims to tackle the multifaceted challenges faced by children growing up in poverty or facing discrimination in the region.

Hosted by the University of Bath’s Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy and Society (CASPS) in collaboration with B&NES Council and the charities SARI (Stand Against Racism and Discrimination) and St John’s Foundation, and with support from the University's Community Engagement team, this summit brings together academic researchers, educators, policymakers, community leaders, charities, parents, and young people, seeking to identify solutions through collective action.

The catalyst for this event can be traced back to discussions between Dr. Alex Raikes of SARI, Dr Theodoros Papadopoulos from CASPS, and other key local stakeholders which highlighted the need for cross-sector collaborations to address significant issues of poverty, socio-economic deprivation, and discrimination currently affecting children in B&NES. Driven by a shared vision of community engagement and positive social change, the summit evolved from a small-scale initiative into a larger Community Summit with nearly 100 delegates.

For Dr Theodoros Papadopoulos, Director of CASPS and a long-time resident of Bath, this initiative holds personal significance. Having witnessed the beauty and oftentimes visible wealth of Bath juxtaposed with the socio-economic challenges faced by some of its residents, Theo is driven by a desire to translate academic knowledge into tangible solutions for the community. His long-term vision includes establishing the summit as a recurring event, fostering research collaborations, while also creating a Socio-Economic Observatory for BANES hosted by CASPS.

Theo said: "Despite the challenges that will always present when organising such an event, including logistical hurdles and funding constraints, the overwhelming support from local stakeholders has been encouraging. As the summit unfolds, we hope that participants will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions, share insights, and lay the groundwork for future collaborations that have a real, tangible impact on our region's children."

To those considering similar initiatives, Theo offers sage advice: "Share your vision, engage with the community, and leverage institutional support, such as that of the community engagement team. By aligning academic expertise with local community needs, we can foster positive socio-economic change that has far-reaching learning and research impacts beyond our immediate area, and can advance the cause of social justice."

Theo's community summit has created a template for collaborative action that others are invited to scrutinise and copy to harness the power of collective effort in building a more inclusive society. Theo is looking forward to updating us after the event with some of his learnings from working with diverse community groups, and any advice he is able to share with other researchers looking to do similar.


Posted in: Local and civic engagement


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