Top tips for successful community engagement activity

Here are some tips for successful community engagement activity.

Speak with local equalities organisations or networks  – this can be helpful either to raise awareness of the process or to get better information on how best to engage people.   It is worth spending a bit of time at an early stage speaking with equalities organisations to develop a picture of existing evidence, and discuss how best to engage particular groups or communities. 

Organise your activities at a time and place that suits you target audience – for example, if you want to engage young people outside of school, you might organise activities at the weekend.  You should think about where people already go – if you want to engage local Jewish people, you could run a group discussion through the local synagogue.  It is always advisable to ensure the venues you use are accessible for people with disabilities.

Think carefully about the mixture of people attending events and group discussions – this is particularly important when you are talking about equalities, as some people might be uncomfortable discussing issues in a large and varied group.  It is also important to recognise that people from different equalities groups might want to discuss quite different issues. 

Take account of broad cultural issues – people will sometimes be uncomfortable talking about some issues openly, and you should be sensitive to this in how you develop your approach. 

Use appropriate language – when raising awareness of the needs assessment and in gathering information.  Research shows that inappropriate language can be very off putting.

Provide feedback
– especially to those directly involved in the process.  A common complaint from equalities organisations is that they are often approached to engage in needs assessments or other research, but never hear what happened as a result.  It is important to let people know what you found out, and how it has helped.

Self Assessment

If you want to know how good you are at involving people from equalities groups, complete the self assessment at the top of the page.