Leicester Stories – Community Reporting and the Leicester Census

I’ve started planning and preparation for a project with DMU Local, with the aim of sharing positive community-focussed stories about the Leicester Census. We will be training community reporters to collect and share stories about the census, and the positive reasons why all residents of the city should all be proud of engaging with this ten-year national event.

Download the Community Reporter Call-Out: Leicester-Census-Stories-Community- Reporters-Call-Out-Brief-001-2021-02-22

My first steps are to recruit the community reporters through the network of partner organisation that are associated with the DMU Build Back Better projects. for a good set of examples of what community reporting is the Institute of Community Reporters has some great content. A website is being developed, so the reporters can plan, create and share content: https://leicesterstories.uk.

The aim of Leicester Stories is to train community reporters to find, record and share stories about the positive reasons for completing the census in Leicester. We are going to try to encourage people to compete the census by sharing guidance with them in a way that is accessible, easily understood, trusted and relevant to people living across the city.

  • Above all we want to add to the sense of civic pride that comes from supporting the census, so we are looking for positive stories that will encourage everyone to take part.

Leicester Stories aims to use community radio to inspire households across Leicester who are reluctant, or who might find it difficult to engage with the national UK Census 2021. Leicester Stories is going to share content through community radio, so we can better reach listeners whose first language might not be English, or who have low English literacy skills. Some people mistrust government organised projects, while others do not engage with local politics and local news, and don’t follow or watch mainstream national and local broadcasters or social media.

  • Community radio is a trusted medium that reaches people who are easily overlooked, and supports them in amplifying their voices so that they can be counted with pride in the census.

Leicester Stories is working with several partners, including Leicester’s community radio stations and community media voluntary groups, to create pooled content that can be broadcast on different stations. This content will either be short updates or longer programmes. Leicester poses a challenge given the high cultural diversity of people living in our city.

There are many layers of social deprivation, and there has been a lack of investment in support for community integration. Leicester has also been badly affected by Covid-19, so additional efforts are being put in place by the independent Office for National Statistics, who run the census, to boost the take-up of the census.

As the project advances, we are going to keep a record of what we are doing and how we feel it is going. So watch out for more updates as we build the team and we find our feet.

The project is coordinated by Professor Edward Cartwright and the De Montfort University Public Engagement team, who work with over one hundred community projects across Leicester through DMU Local. The project is being funded by a grant from the Arts & Humanities Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council.  The census is undertaken by the Office for National Statistics, which is an independent government organisation that manages the census every ten years, protects the information that is recorded, and ensures that everyone gets recorded based on where they live. More information is available at https://census.gov.uk/

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