Community centred services support residents to build financial resilience

From April to July 2022, Boost Community, the University of Bristol and a team of community researchers from Lawrence Hill worked together on a project to better understand what financial resilience means to local people and how Boost, the Wellspring Settlement and other community services can help residents build resilience.

The community research team led in depth interviews with local residents where together they mapped out participants financial lives: discussing income, expenses and their strategies to cope with financial shocks, exploring existing support, worries and hopes for the future. From the interviews with participants the team identified how other factors, such as housing, childcare, community networks, family, pride, motivation, health, support / advice services and policy can also act as enablers or barriers to building financial security and resilience.

Reviewing their findings and community priorities, the team focussed on three key issues:

• Strengthening links between Wellspring Settlement services and reducing barriers to access them
• Providing more support to parents
• Elevating community voices in decisions around housing

In response to these issues:

• Community researchers and the Wellspring Settlement Communications Team used the framework to develop new communication materials that make it easier to find services and understand what is available, especially to those for whom English is a foreign language.
• Boost Community, the Wellspring Settlement Community Engagement Team and the community researchers organised an Open Day in October 2022 for residents to learn about the research, get to know what services are available, and get the support they need in a welcoming and fun atmosphere.
• Boost Community are planning to pilot integrating their weekly drop in sessions with a community café to encourage more peer support and exchange. They are also exploring a Somali language drop in and a drop in especially for parents.
• Community researchers met with Wellspring Settlement management to discuss how the organisation might continue to advocate for the housing needs of Lawrence Hill and centre community voices.

This project was funded by the Brigstow Institute, with additional funding for the community event received through the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences.

You can read the full report here.

For further information contact:
Lisa Dora & Hari Ramakrishnan from Boost Community, or Anne Angsten Clark from University of Bristol.