Complexity and Social Policy

I am exploring how complexity science can be used to capture the real effects of social change. This research may then be used to support the development of communities in the interests of the people involved.

My research takes an innovative approach to community studies that puts the emphasis on those living and working in local areas. This can be of use both to academics and to policy makers.

Local Community-Based Organisations

I have researched the contribution that community organisations make to their local area. This is presented and discussed in terms of emerging social factors, the well-being of residents, services for young people and the state of the local economy.

The research includes a quantitative overview evidenced by an online survey. This was followed up by face-to-face interviews with key members of the voluntary sector working in Newcastle upon Tyne. Taken together the research provides a basis for an area-by-area comparison.

The research was carried out in conjunction with Newcastle CVS and was published by them under the title Good Intentions.

Food banks

Whether you see them as Big Society in action or as an appalling indictment of 21st Century Britain, Food Banks are an increasingly important part of our social support network.

I wrote a report on the growing number of food banks in Newcastle Food for Thought for Newcastle CVS. This includes an assessment of the wider implications for society, the economy and the environment.


Localism was supposed to offer huge opportunities for community groups. Have there been any such benefits? And how easy is it for VCS organisations to make use of the community rights and associated measures?

I have written several briefings for VONNE on topics around localism and community rights.

I have also worked on projects to measure the impacts of benefit changes and to disseminate accurate information on the help that is available.

Pottery Bank Community Centre

Pottery Bank Community Centre, based in Walker in east Newcastle, was refurbished and relaunched in 2013. As chair I made sure that everyone was heard and that we made the most of the opportunities available.

Having negotiated the transition from local authority control, the centre has achieved independent sustainability.


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