Keele partners with housing provider to improve local people’s lives

A new study funded by Keele’s Institute for Social Inclusion (KISI) will see psychologists from the University working with a major housing provider to help improve the quality of life of local residents.

Funded by the KISI Active Partnership Programme, the study will see Dr Katie Wright-Bevans and Dr Sammyh Khan from the School of Psychology working alongside the housing association Aspire Housing to devise a new approach to resident consultations for the development of neighbourhood plans - a series of measures implemented by Aspire to address inequalities in local communities.

The project will see Dr Khan and Dr Wright-Bevans drawing on existing data held by Aspire Housing to identify the key factors affecting the quality of life of residents in Newcastle-under-Lyme, including social, economic, political and environmental factors.

The research team will also conduct interviews with residents in this area, asking them to identify the issues in these categories that have the biggest impact on their own lives, before presenting their findings back to stakeholders within the year to inform targeted interventions to improve these residents’ lives.

Stakeholders involved in the project are likely to include local government, police, residents’ associations and the Citizens Advice Bureau, among other partners.

The study will initially focus on residents in those areas of Newcastle-under-Lyme which have high levels of inequality, before being rolled out more widely to other areas of the borough, and supports KISI’s research themes of tackling inequalities and supporting local communities.

Dr Katie Wright-Bevans said: “Our collaboration is true to community psychology values and principles – it’s about social justice, discovering what works, what doesn’t work and how things can be improved for people. This research will really help to understand the issues that matter most to residents and how these can be best addressed.”

Dan Gray, Executive Director of Property at Aspire Housing said: “Aspire Housing is committed to supporting residents and communities with the aim of bringing positive change to the lives of local people. We are very pleased to be collaborating with the Institute for Social Inclusion and the School of Psychology at Keele University to carry out this important piece of research, which we intend to use to develop practical solutions to some of the challenges faced by communities in Newcastle-under-Lyme.”

Dr Sammyh Khan added: “We are excited about the prospect of applying our methodological skill sets to the benefit of local communities in collaboration with Aspire Housing.”