On 15 and 16 June the LIDA team met at Loughborough University for the third of our extended planning and reporting meetings (previously we met in Bath in September last year and then in Exeter in January this year). It was a time to both catch-up on the work so far that has been undertaken by the team at Bath, led by Julie Barnett, and also to plan in detail the next phase of activity.
The good news is that substantial progress has been made in forging partnerships with key organisations that will allow us to work with three target groups: carers; students; and BT mobile engineers. Each of these groups is very different and we are looking forward to working with them on issues around transient loneliness. We expect to be recruiting participants very soon, with a view to starting workshop activity in the autumn.
We have been less successful in building partnerships with migrant worker communities in the agricultural industry. We had been advised to make approaches via the major employers, in particular those that recruit workers directly, rather than via gangmasters, but we have had difficulty in getting engagement from them. Although our original intention was to work with three different communities (and we already have those now), we are still very keen to work with migrant worker communities, not least because of the cross-cultural implications of the work. So, we had plenty of discussion around reconsidering our engagement strategy and, whilst we are still hopeful, we think it likely that we will work with this community in a slightly different way than the others.