Tackling social isolation and loneliness is high on Uttlesford Health and Wellbeing Board’s agenda, as outlined within its Strategy 2017-2022. The Community Action Zone (CAZ) project was a great opportunity for Uttlesford partners to seek understanding and better outcomes for people living within the local community.
The project was commissioned by Essex Partners and delivered collaboratively by a range of stakeholders in conjunction with the Young Foundation. Focusing on three very different areas in the Uttlesford district (the neighbourhoods of Saffron Walden, Little Bardfield, Takeley and Little Canfield), The aim was to learn more about the social networks and connections that exist in these communities so that local stakeholders can work together to best support the people and projects that are contributing to community wellbeing and reducing isolation and loneliness. It involved a range of qualitative research methods including interviews, informal conversations and mapping activities with stakeholders, residents and groups. Community events arranged in each neighbourhood shared the insights and kicked off a discussion about next steps for supporting local social action. The partners included: Uttlesford District Council, Essex County Council, Essex Fire and Rescue Service, Uttlesford CVS and Volunteer Centre, Anglia Ruskin University Health Lab and West Essex CCG.
The project used a three-staged process to promote community-led social action to tackle social isolation and loneliness: listening and observing through ethnographic research, dialogue and reflection through community events, and co-creating new approaches led by residents themselves.
A report detailing the research findings and project progress to December 2017 is available via these links:
Link to the YF publication page:
Direct link to download the report: