Category Archives: Research News

The contribution sport can make to global social and economic wellbeing

The Commonwealth Secretariat will host a live debate on the role of sport in contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals on 6th April 2017. The event marks the 2017 International Day of Sport for Development and Peace the Commonwealth Secretariat is convening the 2nd Commonwealth Debate on Sport and Sustainable Development.

Two teams of experts and personalities drawn from across the Commonwealth will provide a reflective and entertaining debate on the motion: ‘Corruption in elite sport undermines the potential to promote development and peace through community sports’.

Details about the debate are available here:

The debate will coincide with the launch of a major new publication for the Commonwealth Secretariat by Dr Iain Lindsey and Professor Tony Chapman.  The book offers new thinking on how to implement new policy and practice to meet the ambitious goals set by the United Nations.

The guide builds on the work of previous Commonwealth publications that have presented analysis of the role of sport in progressing sustainable development. Aimed at governmental policy-makers and other stakeholders, it provides evidenced and balanced policy options to support the effective and cost-efficient contribution of sport towards six prioritised SDGs.

The report is underpinned by an emphasis towards strengthening the means of implementation and the measurement and evaluation of progress, as emphasised by the SDGs and existing Commonwealth principles. Developed through extensive Commonwealth Secretariat-led consultation with relevant experts and organisations, it represents an important addition to the growing body of SDP publications, guides and research.

For full details of the publication, go to this web address:

Third Sector Trends Headline Report Published by IPPR

The initial headline findings from the Third Sector Trends Study, undertaken in 2016 by Professor Tony Chapman have now been published.  The study was funded by Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland (in North East England), Joseph Rowntree Foundation (in Yorkshire and the Humber) and by IPPR\North and Garfield Weston (n North West England).

The key findings were published today by IPPR in a report by Professor Tony Chapman, St Chad’s College, Durham University  and Jack Hunter of IPPR North and can be downloaded here.  third-sector-trends-in-the-north-of-England_Mar2017.

News commentary on the research can be found on IPPR\North’s website which can be accessed here:

The key findings were announced at the IPPR’s ‘Civil Society and the North Summit’ in Newcastle upon Tyne on 30th March to an audience of voluntary and community sector colleagues, policy makers and academics from across the North of England.

Detailed results from each of the three regions of the North will be published in May.

Citizens House: Building a new Community Centre in Consett

St Chad’s College Professorial Fellow, Fred Robinson and Research Fellow, Ian Zass-Ogilvie have been working closely with  Citizens House, a community group in Consett, helping them to develop and expand their community centre. Now,  three years of hard work have at last paid off: the Big Lottery has pledged over £650,000 to build a new centre.

Over the past few years, Fred and Ian have been supporting  Durham County Council’s ‘asset transfer’ programme. They have been  helping  local organisations  to take responsibility for community centres  that the Council was struggling to maintain. Of course it’s not been easy, but most of these buildings have now been successfully transferred — and are continuing to provide valuable local services.

Citizens House in Consett is one of these centres. The building doesn’t look attractive, the layout is poor and it’s outdated. But it is very well used by a remarkable variety of local groups, ranging from AA to the WI. Following asset transfer, the management committee began to think about how to modernise the building and accommodate more activities. Ideas were generated and ambitions grew.

A partnership was developed, comprising the Citizens House management committee,  officers from Durham County Council, building experts — and Fred and Ian. That partnership supported the asset transfer process, then worked on proposals to secure funding to develop plans for the future. There were a lot of hoops to jump through. There have been difficult meetings and times when it looked like it wasn’t going to work out. A great deal of work had to be done to develop plans that really could bring out the potential of Citizens House, making it a beacon of hope and community support in Consett.

The original idea was to reorder the internal layout and build on to the existing building. But, late in the day, mine workings were discovered under the site. That was a huge challenge — but partners worked together to come up with a radical Plan B. That involves demolishing the existing building, stabilising the site, and building a brand new Citizens House. The Big Lottery has agreed to provide most of the funding for the new building – a major grant of more than £650,000.

Fred commented: ‘We are delighted that Consett is going to get a new Citizens House – it’s a wonderful project. We’ve been glad to play our part in helping to make it happen and we will continue to offer our support’.

He went on: ‘This is a project that shows how research skills can be used to make a real, tangible difference – and it shows how we at St Chad’s can respond to the needs and challenges that our region faces’.

Third Sector Trends 2016 headline results to be released

A summit will be held in Newcastle to discuss civil society and the Northern Powerhouse. The event will bring together a wide range of people from the third sector and wider civil society in the North of England, in order to discuss what the Northern Powerhouse and the devolution agenda means for them, and how they can adapt to a changing landscape, in order to help build a more progressive and inclusive North.  Key topics include:

  • The opportunities and threats posed to civil society organisations by devolution and the Northern Powerhouse agenda
  • How to engage with new structures such as combined authorities and metro-mayors
  • New campaigns and movements for a fairer North

Organised by IPPR\North and funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Charities Aid Foundation, the event will take place on 30th March 2017. 9.45am – 4.30pm. Location: Event Northumbria, 2 Sandyford Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 8SB

The event will also be showcasing headline results from the Third Sector Trends 2016 study, run by Professor Tony Chapman at St Chad’s College, Durham University. This landmark study, funded by Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, JRF and Garfield Weston presents findings from a study of 3,500 third sector organisations across the whole of the North of England. Speakers at the event will include:

  • Ed Cox, IPPR North
  • Rob Williamson, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
  • Professor Tony Chapman, St Chad’s College, Durham University
  • Emma Stone and Katie Schmuecker, JRF
  • Rhodri Davies, Charities Aid Foundation
  • Sara Bryson, Citizens North East
  • Jane Hartley, VONNE
  • Eve Holt, DivaManc
  • Simone Roche, Northern Powerwomen

If you want to reserve a place, sign up with eventbrite here:





Local regeneration on Tyneside, 40 years on

Regeneration is usually considered in the here and now.  But what legacy do such projects leave many years on.  Professors Fred Robinson and Alan Townsend have undertaken two projects in Benwell and North Shields as part of the ESRC Imagine research programme hosted by the University’s Centre for Social Justice and Community Action.

The first report looks at the history of regeneration in the Benwell area of Newcastle upon Tyne (North East England) after the Community Development Project (CDP) ended in 1978. It provides an account of the development, implementation and impact of regeneration policies. It draws on archive documents including reports and maps and five in-depth interviews with key actors, past and present, conducted in 2014-15.

This account cannot, of course, cover everything that has impacted on Benwell. The principal focus is on the main ‘area-based initiatives’ that have been implemented in the area, especially those that conveyed explicit ideas about an imagined future – what the area might become.  The report shows the context: ideas about what needed to be done and how it should be done and concludes with a statistical section, tracking some key indicators of change in the area over the past 40 years, 1971 to 2011.

The second report looks at North Shields in North Tyneside which looks at the history of regeneration in the North Shields/North Tyneside area after the CDP. The report draws on archive documents including reports and maps and five in-depth interviews with key actors, past and present.

Both reports include a timeline to show the history of area-based policies in Benwell and North Shields, alongside the significant events and the changing local, regional and national political landscape.

Read the reports Benwell…..fortyyearsonrevisedSB4thversionwithexceltimelinespreadsheet23.2.17


Investing in small charities in ‘cold spots’: Redcar & Cleveland and Port Talbot & Neath

Small charities form the bedrock of civil society.   So their wellbeing needs to be attended to, especially in places where there are concentrations of economic difficulties.  The problem with previous attempts to strengthen small charities is that ‘gold standards’ about what a successful organisation should look like have been adopted.  And far too often, standardised tools have been developed to build the ‘capacity’ and ‘capability’ of such charities which simply don’t address the specific needs of individual charities.

Lloyds Bank Foundation has invested significant resources in the development of charities for many years through its Engage and Enhance programmes.  But some charities which really need help don’t meet the eligibility criteria. This project seeks to change that by working with a small number of charities, intensively, over a period of a year.

Known as Lloyds Bank Foundation’s ‘Grow’ programme, this project seeks to experiment with new approaches to strengthen small charities without demanding standardised outcomes which meet the expectations of outsiders rather than of charities themselves.

Based in two areas of the UK which have been challenged economically in recent years, the project will invest significant levels of support to help charities become more resilient as organisations and effective in what they do but without necessarily expecting them to grow or change beyond the ambitions they set themselves.

Professor Tony Chapman has been chosen to assist in the development of this two year programme and will evaluate the success of the intervention.


Can deferred gratification help young people stay committed to apprenticeships?

Professor Tony Chapman and Stephanie Rich are to evaluate the National Youth Agency’s TEN programme which is funded by the Money Advice Service. The project brings together tried and tested approaches to inform the development of financial literacy and sustained money management skills and builds on the success of an existing intervention (Barclays Money Skills Champions).

Its purpose is to strengthen the existing evidence on the immediate advantages of the previous programme for Money Skills Champions, to get a better understanding of how peer education improves the financial capability of 16-21 year olds who are engaged in apprenticeships and which, in turn, has the potential to help influence subsequent decision making which could have longer-term benefit by enhancing the likelihood of improved retention on apprenticeship schemes.

More specifically, the evaluation aims to explore the efficacy of the project through the following research questions:

  • To determine if the NYA’s existing approach to ‘peer education’ has distinctive and beneficial impacts upon young people’s approach to learning about discrete financial issues which are replicable for young people from disadvantaged or marginalised backgrounds.
  • To find out if the financial learning intervention has a positive impact by improving young people’s knowledge about financial issues and strengthens their locus of control when making immediate financial decisions.
  • To explore whether increasing knowledge and skills through peer education about financial issues may impact positively on young people’s ability to navigate key life transitions by weighing up the ‘opportunity costs’ of their decisions in financial and personal development terms.

The project runs for 18 months, beginning in January 2017.

Regenerating Coastal Communities

Tackling issues surrounding economic restructuring, geographical isolation and social marginalization.  A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance

Hartlepool Council Chamber, Friday 27th January 2017, 9.30 – 1.00

Coastal communities have been given a bad press for many years. Typically, media stories focus heavily on the decline in tourism in many coastal towns, their apparent inability to draw in new investment to restructure the local economy and sensationalist stories about the influx of residents who are dependent on benefits. These issues can play a part in the way coastal communities fare economically and socially – but no two coastal towns are the same – and responses to the challenges or opportunities they face can be very different.

This seminar has been devised to attract an audience which is interested in making change in coastal communities from different points of interest, including local authorities, businesses, charitable foundations which invest in coastal areas, voluntary and community organisations, housing associations, health and wellbeing services. To bring the debate to life, we have invited speakers to speak about three very different coastal communities: the fishing port of Amble in Northumberland, port and industrial town of Hartlepool, and the seaside holiday town of Scarborough.

The history of a place shapes its culture to some extent, but not necessarily its destiny. So even defining these three towns in such short-hand ways is controversial – as is the case in any coastal town – but that is the point of the seminar: to see what defines a coastal town and what needs to be done to secure their positive futures.

This seminar will consider the situation of coastal communities against the backdrop of recent policy and practice interventions at national and local authority level to tackle economic, geographical and social issues in coastal towns. In so doing, it will concentrate on what has been working well and what new interventions show tremendous promise. But it will do so with cultural and economic undercurrents in mind so as not to assert that approaches that may work in one area can simply be transplanted into another.

The event will be introduced and chaired by Councillor Kevin Cranney, Chair of Hartlepool Regeneration Committee, Hartlepool Borough Council

Speakers will include:

  • NickTaylor, Investment Manager, Scarborough Borough Council, on the role of major public and private sector investments in the transformation of Scarborough.
  • Katherine Blaker, Community Research & Grants Manager, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, on the role of the ActionLab in tackling issues surrounding embedded poverty in Hartlepool.
  • Tony Kirsop, Community Regeneration Manager, Northumberland County Council, on the development of Amble quayside and the promotion of small businesses and tourism.
  • Fernanda Balata, Policy Director, Coastal Economies Unit, New Economics Foundation, on the national policy environment and NEFs 20 point action plan for coastal communities.
  • Denise Ogden, Director of Regeneration & Neighbourhoods. Hartlepool Borough Council, on the role of local government in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sectors in shaping the destiny of coastal communities.

This is the second seminar in the current season which will covered a variety of topics including: graduate enterprise and employability; evidencing personal wellbeing and social value; tackling the unforeseen consequences of unmet need; and, tackling the democratic deficit in the context of devolved responsibility.

The seminar is free to attend, but places are limited and they tend to book up quickly, so please register your attendance via: Janet Atkinson, Institute for Local Governance, Durham University

The Institute for Local Governance is a North East Research and Knowledge Exchange Partnership established in 2009 comprising the North East region’s Universities, Local Authorities, Police and Fire and Rescue Services. Further information about the content of the event can be obtained by contacting:- or

Presentations from the event can be located here: 1 Regenerating Coastal Communities – Fernanda Balata – New Economics Foundation – Hartlepool – 27 Jan 20174 Regenerating Coastal communities Amble – The Seafood Town (Tony Kirsop) 2 Regenerating Coastal Communities Seminar (Hartlepool Denise Ogden) Presentation 27 01 17Hartlepool ILG 27Jan17 Nick TaylorCoastal communities Katherine Blaker JRF

Building the employability of young people in County Durham



durham-county-council-logoProfessor Tony Chapman, Stephanie Rich and Paul Braidford have been appointed by the Institute for Local Governance to undertake a project on young people’s employability and enterprising aspirations in County Durham.  The project is being undertaken for Durham County Council, will run until March 2018 and has the following aims:

  • To provide an up-to-date evidence review drawing on key quantitative indicators drawing upon County Durham, regional and national indicators. The purpose of the exercise is to cement understanding on the extent to which aspirations are formulated, why aspirations are not being met and what needs to be done in employability terms to address any mis-match between aspiration and achievement.
  • A thorough mapping exercise on current employability and skills provision, and in so doing, assist the County Council in recognising the diverse sources of support available to young people from the public, private and third sectors.
  • Gathering of qualitative data on the quality and strength of interactions between agencies and organisations in the area to include analysis of formal contractual relationships, partnership working, complementary practice and autonomous working.
  • Based upon the above phases of work, up to three case studies will be identified to produce demonstration projects on different approaches to practice – emphasising the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and making an appraisal of the scope for replicating the most effective policies and practice.

In its concluding phase, the research will produce recommendations on courses of action on the basis of the evidence collected and relationship building work undertaken.