During the last meeting we finalised our 10 case study locations. Since then, the project has been progressing at pace. We are in the process of lining up various interviews with local church leaders and community stakeholders for our first case study, Bolton, which will be completed in the last week of November. We have also now finalised our questionnaires for interviewees, and will take the opportunity to refine them further on the completion of our Bolton study.
Our current timeline is as follows:
Bolton (late November)
Middlesbrough (late January)
Thanet (early February)
We have been supplementing our work with an ongoing review of the literature and current academic landscape on social cohesion. As part of this, our lead researcher Madeleine Ward has had a series of meetings with key individuals from academia and the public policy sector. These have included Anthony Heath, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Oxford and author of the recently published Social Progress in Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018); Molly Morgan Jones, Head of Policy and Engagement at the British Academy, and Jemma Adams, Programmes and Projects Officer at the Church of England Education Office. We are also in conversation with the public policy division of the Evangelical Alliance to discuss their historic responses to government output on social cohesion.
Alongside this, we have contacted all MPs in our case study areas for interview; we plan to conduct the majority in Westminster for convenience. We have already secured interviews with Stephen Timms MP, Christopher Williamson MP, and Sir Roger Gale MP.
Action points for observers:
Looking forward, we would be grateful to draw on your connections and contacts in our case study areas. In particular, we would benefit from contact emails (and where appropriate, introductions) for church leaders, leaders of other faith groups, community organisers, and those representing key stakeholders.
As a reminder, our case study locations are: Bolton; Bradford; Bury; Derby; Haringey; Middlesbrough; Newham; Peterborough; Plymouth; Solihull; Thanet.