The Liverpool Comino Centre
The Liverpool Comino Centre is based in Academic Enhancement and Regional Engagement under the Directorship of Pro-Vice Chancellor Diana Burton at Liverpool John Moores University. The Liverpool Comino Centre works within the broad vision of the Comino Foundation (http://cominofoundation.org.uk). Our aim is that people in Britain will live 'more fulfilled lives within a prosperous and responsible society'. The Centre’s particular focus, within this vision, is on supporting those young people who find themselves at a disadvantage: for example in accessing education, employment or training, or otherwise fulfilling their potential as responsible members of society.
In order to achieve this we have found it useful to work with partners who share our aims and who have experience and resources which complement the university networks and research expertise. During the past ten years these partners have included:
- New Start Merseyside, in our school-based projects to tackle disaffection.
- Other Comino Centres as part of the Foundation’s ‘GRASP Dissemination Project’.
- The Connexions Service, for whom the Centre contributed to the training of Personal Advisers and introduced GRASP into the model.
- Local Solutions, a leading social welfare charity, continues to be our closest, long-term partner, in particular their Homeground hostel for homeless young people on Merseyside.
- Partnership with the Wigan Comino Centre and the Ideas Foundation (http://www.ideasfoundation.co.uk/) in the successful implementation of the Abraham Guest School in Wigan’s Design Project.
- Liverpool Centre liaising with the Liverpool John Moores University School of Media to provide a venue and support for the work simulation stage of the Creativity Scholarships project.
- Patterns of Substance Use and Support Needs of Young People Resident in Young People's Hostel and Foyers in Liverpool. The research based project by the Centre for Public Health at LJMU to: identify patterns of substance use by hostel/foyer residents; explore substance use policy and implementation in hostel/foyers; and recommend useful harm reduction prevention intiatives. The report delivery was completed in 2010 with conference and journal submission in 2010 and 2011.
- Together with Local Solutions we have facilitated two very successful seminars with staff of Local Solutions and Homeground, in which Sheila Bloom of IGE (http://www.globalethics.org.uk/) led consultations to explore the extent to which IGE's model of personal responsibility and moral decision-making might be relevant to their client groups.
Our current partners and projects
Resettlement in Action: our partnership with Homeground
The Centre retains its close working partnership with ‘Homeground’, a hostel in Liverpool for homeless young people. This year, we have continued to support the Resettlement Programme in its goal to ensure that young people leaving the hostel have been inducted into the skills of independent living, have on-going contact with key workers and have the physical resources to furnish their accommodation. Liverpool Comino supports the programme in the form of a grant. This enables the Resettlement programme to support up to ten young people each year, in the form of individual grants to contribute to furnishing their accommodation.
The PATCH5 community dance/art project
The purpose of this project is to bring members of a professional dance company together with young people at risk of social or educational exclusion, to experience the performing arts. The PATCH5 project is a development of PATCH 1 - 4 a community dance project with JMUpStart, an undergraduate professional company based in the Faculty of Education at LJMU, and young people recruited from local organisations that support the homeless and those at risk of social exclusion.
The stated aims are:
- to engage young people in the performing arts
- to use the performing arts as a means of offering them alternative forms of expression and the enhancement of self-esteem
- to provide avenues of progressions into the performing arts.
The project continues to widen access for young people, through dance/performance, art and film production, with almost 300 young people to date involved in the project through workshops, art and film production as well as the end of project performance event. A number of organisations which support homeless young people and those at risk of social exclusion and organisations providing alternative education for children and young people excluded or dis-engaged with school are involved in the project. The aim is to widen access to the provision of opportunity for young people. A 'Dance for Camera' film which was produced for PATCH1 with a further DVD produced for PATCH4 looked at some of the methods used within the workshops with the aim of using the film as a practise tool. The end of project performance event will take place after the completion of the workshops and is planned for March/April 2012.
Behavioural, Emotional and Social Disadvantage
Two projects that investigate teachers' and students' experiences of inclusion within school and behavioural support units are now underway. The projects aim to develop best practice guidelines for teachers working with children and young people with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Disadvantage (BESD).
The first of the two studies has now been completed, the interviews with teachers asking them about their experiences and perceptions of teaching students with behavioural, emotional and social disadvantage (BESD) with a focus on the strategies used to teach this group of students.
Everton in the Community Pan-Disability Sports Project
This project is a partnership with the Faculty of Education Community and Leisure (ECL) and Everton in the Community (htt://community.evertonfc.com/) the charitable wing of Everton Football Club. Everton in the Community initiates and delivers a range of sports related activity, programmes and schemes with the aim of making a difference to the lives of people on Merseyside. The Pan-Disability Sports Coaching programme, one of many programmes that Everton in the Community offers to schools, works with Special Educational Needs schools (SEN) and special disability units in main stream schools.
The aim of the Pan-Disability Project is to examine the unique techniques and methods used by Everon in the Community that engage children and adolescents with disabilities in physical activity in main stream and special primary and secondary schools in Greater Merseyside.
The planned outcomes of the project are: to produce a resources pack for teachers, teaching assistants and coaches working with young people participating in physical activity programmes; a report which will assist the co-ordinators, managers and coaches of the Everton in the Community Programme in graining a deeper understanding of the impact of the programme and dissemination of best practice to a wider audience.
Field to Fork Project
The project is a collaboration with the Futures Learning Trust, which is a primary trust made up of four primary schools in the Burnley area. The project enables 12 families, three from each of the trust schools to grow and produce their own fruit and vegetables at home. Families are provided with planters, all the plants, soil and equipment needed, as well a information, advice and workshops on growing techniques to enable them to grow their own fruit and vegetables. The aim is to increase the number of pupils, parents and carers who are regularly eating healthy, fresh produce; to raise awareness of the imporance of a healthy balanced diet and to improve pupils', parents' and carers knowledge and understanding about growing fresh produce.
The production of support and advice material which could be used by schools and local authorities is planned for 2012. The production of a case study which will highlight the impact of the study will be delivered at a cross section of local and regional conferences in 2012. In addition a cookbook of parents recipes will be produced in 2012.
Emerging priorities for 2011-2012
- Continuation of the development of the Field to Fork project with further consultation on the widening participation of the project.
- Discussions with the RSA Academy on developing links to collaborate on work around the issue of social mobility.