Community Partnership Projects

Project 1

Building capacity and improving wellbeing with community partners (Authors - Hazel Burke, Jaime Garcia-Iglesias and Brian Heaphy)

Building capacity and improving wellbeing with community partners

New collaboration between Manchester researchers and Black Beetle Health to build community research capacity and the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ People of Colour.

The SoSS Community Partnership Fund (CPF) has brought together researchers from the University of Manchester and Black Beetle Health, a Manchester-based organisation dedicated to promoting health, wellbeing, and equality for LGBTQ+ Black and People of Colour. The collaboration will see members of Black Beetle Health seconded to the Dating App Connections research team. This is an ESRC-funded project exploring the role of dating apps in people’s intimacy, wellbeing, and loneliness during COVID-19.

The Dating App Connections project is led by Professor Brian Heaphy and Dr Jaime Garcia-Iglesias. Established in May 2022, the project involves a nation-wide survey about dating app use, wellbeing, and COVID-19, as well as sixty interviews with people who used dating apps between March 2020 and June 2021. The researchers will focus on exploring how dating app use during COVID-19 influenced how people establish connections with others, how they coped with loneliness, and how they navigated COVID-19.

Through this partnership, members of Black Beetle Health will share their knowledge about how inequalities affect online relationships and wellbeing more generally. In a series of meetings and secondments, members from Black Beetle Health with expertise in different aspects of community engagement will advise on methodology, recruitment, and data analysis, to support the delivery of useful, reliable, and grounded findings. The secondments will take place in October 2022, and January and June 2023, to match with periods of data collection, analysis, and dissemination.

This collaboration also promises to help build capacity among community partners across the northwest of England. Many barriers exist that prevent community organisations (such as charities) from producing high-quality research, such as funding, limited capacity, or need for specific training. Under the SoSS CPF leaders from community organisations across the region will come together in June 2023 for a workshop to identify their research opportunities, needs and skills. Researchers from Manchester will also be invited to talk about academic research and opportunities for collaboration. This event will be co-organised by the Dating App Connections project and Black Beetle Health.

Speaking about the collaboration, Jaime Garcia Iglesias, who co-leads the Dating App Connections project, explained: “This is a unique opportunity. So often researchers and communities want to collaborate, but don’t have time or capacity. This scheme provides the necessary funds to develop effective relationships that benefit our research while building capacity across our partners. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of the process.”

The SoSS CPF is one of the many engagement activities the Dating App Connections team engages in: they have already assembled an Advisory Board with leading scholars, community activists and clinical stakeholders, and will host several international partners throughout 2023.

There will be more updates as the collaboration develops, and make sure to keep up with the latest news about the project by following our Twitter (@DatingAppRes) or visiting our website, where you can subscribe to our email newsletter.

Project 2

Dialogue, data, deeds and determination: Co-creating outputs from Greater Manchester for Women 2028 (GM4Women2028) events in partnership with the School of Social Sciences

Building capacity and improving wellbeing with community partners

The purpose of this project is to add to, enhance and amplify the three events that are being organised through the HSCEF-funded project: Data, deeds and determination: Diversifying and strengthening voices, dialogue and connections of Women and Girls to powerholders in Greater Manchester.

The primary aim of the ‘Diversifying and strengthening voice’ project is to: Affect positive change for women and girls of Greater Manchester by working with existing networks to establish a mechanism for stronger links with local powerholders, with 3 main objectives:

  1. Strengthen the GM4Women’s network;
  2. Strengthen mutually beneficial links with GMCA, the University of Manchester and GM4Women;
  3. Extend dialogue with governmental and private powerholders within Greater Manchester with a focus on the need for action.

The 'Dialogue, data, deeds and determination project' funded by the SoSS Community Partnership Fund will enable GM4Women2028 to run an additional event in a community space and develop a professionally designed co-produced output drawing on the findings of the Dialogue events that are being run across boroughs in Greater Manchester.