The research is informed by a reference group which brings together practitioners from national community networks, policy makers and researchers, as well as others who bring particular perspectives on, for example, rural, gender or black and minority ethnic issues. See report on the most recent Reference Group meeting and open workshop on 27 September: Equalities Below the Radar and Research Slam.
- What do below the radar (BTR) groups, activities and organisations look like? What is their role and function and how do they operate?
- What are the motivations of those involved in BTR groups and activities?
- What is the life cycle of BTR organisations and what activities do they conduct?
- What is the impact of more informal community action and organising?
We have completed a review of the literature on below the radar activity along with base-line interviews with key community sector informants. We are also working with the Real Times research theme to explore, in depth, the nature and function of small community groups and activities and how these change over time.
Using primary research sources, we have produced a working paper on the distinctiveness of community based organisations, along with a review of below the radar groups in a big society, a report on grassroots voluntary arts, and working papers exploring the changing nature of Refugee Community Organisations and the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma Third Sector. Research into the role of Gypsy and Traveller Tenants and Residents Groups, and their potential to address social exclusion, has just been published.
We have also undertaken a ‘micro-mapping’ of community activity in two areas of England. This is informing our longer term work with ‘below the radar’ groups across the country, and is already generating other community mapping exercises in both rural and urban communities in England.
We have also held a series of events and workshops on current issues for community based organisations, including community cohesion, faith groups and commissioning. The first was supported by Barrow Cadbury Trust and hosted by Communities and Local Government in July 2011, and there have since been a number of online discussions and events. To view the ‘Beyond the Radar’ discussions, visit http://btr11.civicrowd.com. An evaluation of this initiative is now available.
Two further working papers are now available - on learning within below the radar groups and the impact of policy changes on community organisations.
Two further working papers will be available in the near future - on learning within below the radar groups and the impact of policy changes on community organisations.
Below the Radar work in the immediate future will focus on equalities issues. Research in progress, being undertaken by Honorary Research Fellows, includes exploring the position of BME women’s organisations in austere times; BME voice and influence; community sector responses to destitute migrants and the role of emotion and grassroots organisations in policy formation.