Moulsecoomb Being Heard! (MBH) is a research project located in the Moulsecoomb area of Brighton. Its aim is to explore the different ways in which residents of Moulsecoomb participate in community activities, through the eyes of the participants. It is documenting the participants’ experiences and getting their views about the extent and quality of resident participation in the area and comparing the strengths and weaknesses of alternative types of participation. MBH was initiated because of a concern that important things are happening in Moulsecoomb, but few people know about them or are learning lessons from them. A number of residents specifically asked that their experiences and opinions be recorded.
MBH is comparing two main types of resident participation:
- Participation in eb4U (East Brighton for You), a community regeneration project launched in Moulsecoomb and other parts of East Brighton in 2000. East Brighton is one of 39 deprived communities in the UK that have received funding through a nationwide government programme known as the New Deal for Communities (NDC). Brighton and Hove City Council is the ‘accountable body’ for the NDC funds, but eb4U operates more or less independently of the Council and residents are represented on all its decision-making bodies.
- Participation in community-based organisations initiated solely or primarily by Moulsecoomb residents. Four such organisations have been selected for study:
- Moulsecoomb Community Forum, an area-wide organisation that seeks to address issues of concern in the area through monthly public meetings and newsletters;
- Friends of Goodwood Park and Hodshrove Woods, an organisation established by residents of a particular part of Moulsecoomb to protect and develop their local recreation area;
- Mad Hatters, an organisation that provides social activities for older Moulsecoomb residents; and
- CyberSeniors, a group that provides training in computer skills for older residents.
Most of these organisations have received support from the Scarman Trust, a charitable organisation that helps people who want to do something to improve or develop their local communities.
Aims and Objectives
MBH is intended to achieve three main objectives:
- To enable Moulsecoomb residents to record their experiences, express their views and be heard;
- To provide lessons that will contribute to local, national and international policy on community participation and development;
- To provide practical learning experience for IDS students.
MBH is a partnership between:
- Residents of Moulsecoomb
- eb4U and the Scarman Trust
- Two local university institutes: the Health and Social Policy Research Centre (HSPRC) at the University of Brighton, and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex
Decisions are made by a Project Committee, consisting of eight residents and one representative each from Scarman Trust, eb4U, HSPRC and IDS. It is funded primarily by a grant from the Brighton and Sussex Community Knowledge Exchange (BSCKE). However, all the partners are making contributions, mainly by contributing their time or other resources.