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Charity and social enterprises encouraged to apply for university community research grants worth £54,000

Published: 28 February 2023

  •   Featured
  •   Research
A group of people sat on a jetty over a lake with a person in a wheelchair in the foreground

York St John University’s Institute for Social Justice (ISJ), established in 2020 to pursue positive change through research, is now accepting applications for its second year of Community Research Grants.

Voluntary, charity and social enterprises (VCSE) can now apply to the innovative scheme that invites community groups to work in partnership with university academics.  

The grants support impactful research on subject areas that have been identified by individual VCSE’s as important or beneficial to their organisation. 

It is a highly collaborative process, with project applications thoughtfully matched with a York St John academic who best suits their needs and goals. 

From 1 March until Friday 28 April the ISJ is accepting proposals from groups for research collaborations commencing September 2023 to July 2024.  

Applications are open to groups in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, with an extended invite to VCSEs in Tower Hamlets, where the University’s London campus is located.  

Matthew Reason, Director of the Institute for Social Justice said: “Our Community Research Grants are a unique collaborative process, aimed at addressing real issues that are selected by those who know their community best.” 

The first 2022 cohort includes six projects across a diverse range of topics, demonstrating the unique research approaches that come from collaborative work:  

Mark Green, Project Manager for York in Recovery CIC, said: “We see this as the start of a long-lasting relationship with the university. Whilst it can seem daunting as a none-academic, the CRG has opened our work to new conversations, and we have been on the same page from the start. For any groups who are thinking of applying, I would say have no fear, and be confident in the similarities you hold with interested academics. It has been inspiring through our current collaboration to explore the shared care, vision and drive for positive impact we all hold, even though we come from different professional backgrounds.” 

Dr Catherine Heinemeyer, researcher into access to blue spaces for people with disabilities in collaboration with Yorkshire-based charity Open Country said: “This process has opened me and the charity to new networks. It is great to be part of research that has stakeholders and the people who use their services at the core. As academics and activists, we are challenging each other to pragmatically address barriers and solutions in new ways.” 

York-based creative projects community interest company, Bolshee, have been working with psychology academics on an interactive dancefloor project which seeks to creatively explore prevalence and prevention of sexual harm in public spaces. Paula Clark, Creative Director of Bolshee, said: “As artists, we were excited to combine our skills with those of the psychology academics. It is an opportunity to examine the social justice impacts of our artistic output through the development of research and specialist data collection.” 

Addressing anti-racism through partnership with IERUK, Race Equality Charter Officer and Programme Manager at York St John University Cintia Silva Huxter said: "It is great to support the development of an anti-racism and inclusion strategy for York. IERUK is very committed to addressing issues of racism in York, and working as partners strengthens both IERUK’s mandate and YSJ’s social justice mission." 

VCSE groups can find more about the application process, including briefing events and FAQs on the ISJ website.

Image shows: A day out with Open Country, a charity based in North Yorkshire helping people with disabilities to access and enjoy the countryside.

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