Awarded project for 2016:
Laura Fenton (Sociology, University of Manchester) and Nicholas Deal (Medical Sciences, University of Manchester) working in collaboration with Voluntary and Community Action Trafford:
Residents of Sale Moor in Greater Manchester are faced with important decisions about the village’s future. With a population of just under 10,000, Sale Moor remains a small village where the vast majority of businesses are independently owned. Recent efforts by a developer to purchase a large plot of land in the centre of the village to sell to a supermarket chain have raised important questions about the future of the village’s economy and the rights of local residents to shape that future. The experience mobilised residents, with nearly 1,500 people signing a petition against the developer’s plans because of the perceived damage they would cause. In early 2016 residents formed a Neighbourhood Forum, called We Are Sale Moor, in order to represent the community’s interests in discussions regarding future development. Under the Localism Act of 2011, Neighbour Fora have the authority to create Neighbourhood Plans that, if passed in a referendum, became legally binding and shape local planning decisions. The Forum is in the process of deciding on how to best consult residents, traders and shoppers on its Neighbourhood Plan to ensure that it is inclusive and reflects the views of the wider community. The Forum is supported by Voluntary and Community Action Trafford (VCAT) as it begins its journey toward becoming a key voice for the local community.
In partnership with VCAT, the team will support We Are Sale Moor in creating a socially inclusive Neighbourhood Plan by collecting, synthesising and communicating the views of groups less likely to be included in consultation processes, namely children, young people, older people and carers. By systematically engaging and communicating the views of members of these groups, the project provides We Are Sale Moor with the research expertise to ensure the Plan is sensitive to the hopes, aspirations and lived realities of all parts of the community. We aim to increase the legitimacy of the Plan, as a wider range of community members will be involved in its inception, while also raising awareness of the Neighbourhood Forum and helping it to gain legitimacy on its journey toward becoming a voice for Sale Moor.
DESIRED PROJECT OUTPUTS
Project outputs include two reports, one for the Forum’s Management Committee and one written in Plain English for Sale Moor village’s residents, traders and shoppers, communicating the views of the groups consulted on the village’s future. The team will also document the engagement over social media. Lastly, a minimum of two findings from the report will be included in the Neighbourhood Plan.
Laura Fenton (Sociology, University of Manchester) is currently completing her PhD, which explores the shifting nature and meanings of alcohol use across the life course among three generations of women living in the North of England. Laura is an experienced qualitative researcher who has contributed to several research projects, most recently Understanding Everyday Participation and Step-Change. Laura has published sole and co-authored articles and reviews in a number of health policy and social science journals, including Space and Culture, Women’s History Review, and Discover Society.
Nicolas Deal has recently completed a PhD in Dental Public Health, looking at various contractual designs for the NHS dental service. The thesis was an experimental piece of work which underlined several methodological avenues for better communication between the social, human and medical sciences. He writes and presents on a number of different topics, with a particular interest in the NHS’s subcontracted services (e.g. Dentistry, Sexual Health, Mental Health and Rehabilitation), workforce planning, and access to services. Nick is also employed on the University of Manchester’s widening participation programme, and recently began post-doctoral research examining the relationship between ageing, higher education and engagement with mature students.