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Research – poverty

Fun, Food, Folk: The Centrestage approach to dignified food provision (2016-2017)

Centrestage charity is backed by the Centrestage Music Theatre CIC. It uses food and the arts to engage people, help to improve their life chances and (re)build communities.

This research report is focused on Centrestage’s distinct food provision programme in some of the most deprived areas of North and East Ayrshire. It describes how Centrestage achieves impact, empowers individuals and communities, and draws lessons to inform policy and practice.

Fieldwork focused on three aspects of the Centrestage initiative:

  • How does Centrestage make a difference? Values, practices, organisational culture and leadership.
  • What difference does Centrestage make? Immediate, intermediate and long term impact.
  • What lessons can be drawn to inform policy and practice? Scope for spread and sustainability.

Our overarching conclusion is that Centrestage offers a distinct approach to food provision by creating a social environment as well as a dignified transaction. The study demonstrates the importance of social space and interaction when it comes to dignified food provision.

Keywords: food provision, community building, social space, interaction

Project overview:

Research report 2017: Fun, Food, Folk: The Centrestage approach to dignified food provision

Contributed by: Oliver Escobar – What Works Scotland, University of Edinburgh; Briege Nugent – independent research consultant



PhD. Contemporary forms of self-help and mutual aid to meet citizens’ basic needs: a bottom-up perspective from a post-industrial community. (working title)

Due for completion Sept 2020.

This research aims to understand contemporary forms of self-help and mutual aid from a citizens’ perspective. It will look at how and if these meet citizens’ basic needs in post-industrial places and to explore how to protect and enable these forms of citizen action. The research addresses an articulated concern amongst politicians, policymakers and planners with places that have been ‘left behind’.

Applying a participatory approach working in two low-income neighbourhoods in a post-industrial town in the north-east of England, this research will offer new perspectives into the lived experience of people struggling to make ends meet. An asset-based approach will be used to ensured existing assets and attributes are acknowledged and methods to support, enhance and maximise these assets are prioritised.

The outcomes will offer insights for those seeking to make a positive difference through policy to communities in places that are structurally and geographically marginal. The action research approach will ensure that findings from the process of researching together will add to the literature on collaborative and participatory research in UK planning.

Keywords: planning, participation, basic needs, poverty, asset based, action research

Links currently unavailable

Contributed by: Katherine Blaker – University of Sheffield




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