• Chimera

      Wall, Alan; Simon, Christine A. (University of Chester, 2006-09)
    • Client Perspectives and Experiences of Congruence

      Savic-Jabrow, Pamela (University of Chester, 2015-04)
      This small scale enquiry looks at the value of Rogers’ concept of congruence from the perspectives and experiences of clients rather than those of the counsellor, as, it is the view of the author that the value of congruence is only established if it is perceived so by clients. It contributes to the debate about Rogers’ definition of congruence and offers a research informed perspective, relevant to a range of therapeutic interventions, of the nature and function of congruence in the counsellor-client relationship. The study involved me as the researcher and six participants from two cultural backgrounds who had responded to a leaflet after having experienced therapy with a qualified counsellor other than me. A pilot study was carried out followed by six semi-structured, face-to-face and telephone interviews that were transcribed and analysed using a qualitative, thematic analysis approach. A decision was made to divide participants into those who had experienced person-centred counselling and those who had experienced CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or integrative therapy. This was not an original decision but one that was made during the study in order to compare the presence and the importance of congruence in different models of therapy. Results revealed that there were terms that were central to, related to and unrelated to Rogers’ definition of congruence. Factors that were centrally related to congruence were: connection and demeanour. Therapist facilitative factors that were tangentially related to congruence were: respect; understanding; empathy; self-disclosure; trust; body language; conveying emotion and caring. Participants also referred to non-related facets such as therapist competence. Due to the majority of codes being related to congruence, this led to the conclusion that participants held a wide definition of the concept, implied by proxy (as a substitute). Participants confirmed the value of congruence, suggesting that Rogers’ theory, that is, that therapist congruence is necessary for positive growth to occur in clients, is important in counselling (Rogers, 1957). Congruence therefore cannot be described as an outdated theory or professional ideology but as a key concept that is prized and valued in modern day therapy. This study offers an original contribution to knowledge and professional practice because it provides not professionals but clients with the opportunity to have their voices heard. It allows service-users to put into words their experiences, thereby offering a better understanding of the phenomenon of congruence. The study has therefore allowed the provision for a more empowering, research-informed counsellor-client experience. A second claim to the study being unique and a valid contribution to knowledge is that the research has a particular focus on Rogers’ definition of congruence and enquires if this is relevant for service-users as opposed to service-providers.
    • Clinical psychologists’ experience of trauma and trauma-related disclosure: perspectives and experiences from the profession

      Kiyimba, Nikki; Middlebrook, Laura J. (University of Chester, 2018-04)
      A high percentage of individuals will experience a trauma in their life time. A clinical psychologist’s work is often to provide intervention for those experiencing high levels of distress following a trauma. However, understanding of psychologists’ own experiences of trauma and trauma disclosure within the profession are unknown. This dissertation focuses on gaining deeper understanding of trauma-related experiences, and how clinical psychologists make sense of trauma within the profession. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This study found that trauma of psychologists was rarely spoken about and complex interactions between anticipated, internalised and perceived stigma were evident. Anticipated stigma presented as the most dominant in influencing disclosure of trauma by clinical psychologists. This research recommends psychologists consider their own levels of openness about their personal trauma and experiences of trauma related disclosure. Psychologists need the understanding and support that psychologists offer to their clients, removing stigma and promoting openness in the profession is a vital step to supporting psychologists who have experienced trauma, with the profession as a whole learning from each others’ experiences.
    • Clinicians in leadership: To what extent does clinical leadership influence the delivery of NHS Wirral's provider services

      Page, Steve; Cooper, Lisa (University of Chester, 2010-06)
      The importance of Clinical Leadership in the delivery of high quality healthcare is well documented (Department of Health (DH), 2007, 2008a, 2008b, 2009a) and now widely acknowledged as being a driver for change within the National Health Service (NHS). This research investigates the influence of Clinical Leadership on the delivery of NHS Wirral's Provider Services. NHS Wirral Provider Services is a large provider of community based healthcare to the registered population of Wirral (340,000 population) and has an annual budget in excess of fifty-two million pounds In order to create a conceptual background and framework for this research, the concepts of Leadership and Clinical Leadership are explored in the literature review, which includes analysis of the current contextual backdrop of driving forces affecting Clinical Leadership which support the organisational importance of the research. The research utilises an interpretative phenomenological approach and a combination of inductive and deductive techniques to create the research instruments, which include semi-structured interviews and a focus group. Within-method triangulation of data is achieved which supports the validity and reliability of the findings and subsequent conclusions presented. Following data collection and analysis, the research highlights a number of issues within NHS Wirral's Provider Services relating to Clinical Leadership. Consequently, the Author concludes there is an understanding of Clinical Leadership within NHS Wirral's Provider Services at the time of this research. However it is difficult to ascertain to what extent Clinical Leadership may influence the delivery of NHS Wirral's Provider Services. The report finishes with recommendations based on the research, which if addressed, will contribute to the development of Clinical Leadership and its potential influence on the delivery of NHS Wirral's Provider Services.
    • Clothing the ‘new woman’

      Brady, Hannah (University of Chester, 2014)
      Clothing the “New Woman”’ will examine the way my understanding of the ‘New Woman’ differs from the conventional view of the New Woman as a political figure, specifically focusing on how the ‘New Woman’ reflects her identity through her clothing. Using Henry James’s Daisy Miller and The Portrait of a Lady and Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, I will analyse how Daisy Miller, Isabel Archer, Ellen Olenska and Lily Bart’s characters contrast to the traditional understanding of the New Woman, because they are simply trying to have control over their own lives. This idea led to the development of my argument that for many characters being a ‘New Woman’ is not about making a wider political statement, such as arguing for the vote, it is about personal liberation. A key way in which the ‘New Woman’ expresses her individuality and freedom is through her clothing. However, Isabel’s dress conforms to expectations of society, therefore, I will use her as an example to show how the ‘New Woman’ identity is not always fixed and stable. Chapter One will offer a full definition of my understanding of the ‘New Woman’ examining how Daisy, Isabel, Ellen and Lily embody the ‘New Woman’ ideal. Chapter Two will begin by briefly outlining the social significance of dress in the nineteenth century. It will then go onto analyse the ‘New Woman’s’ clothing in her first appearance in each narrative, looking at how their dress reflects their sense of personal freedom and liberation and how Isabel’s dress contrasts her to the other ‘New Woman’ figures. Chapter Three will continue to examine the ‘New Woman’s’ clothing, focusing on the development of their relationship with clothing as the narratives progress. The conclusion will briefly discuss the endings of each text to analyse what becomes of the ‘New Woman’.
    • Coin quest: The story of my Father

      Blair, Peter; Edwards, Aaron (University of Chester, 2009-10)
    • Community leadership in Liverpool City Council

      Webb, Paul; Walsh, Christopher (University of Chester, 2010-06-01)
      The government places a great deal of importance on authorities being effective community leaders it has been enshrined in legislation since 2000 (LGA 2000 and RRAA 2000) and yet community leadership is still a relatively new term. There are key challenges effecting local government over the next ten years and every penny of public sector funding is required to be accounted for. “Now more than ever taxpayers need to see that each pound of their money is working as hard as they did to earn it in the first place and is meeting their needs” John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. It is critical that members, the authority, partners and the community are clear on the responsibilities of local members acting as community leaders, the key skills and working practices required to carry out the role and that structures and systems effectively support it. The study will assess the level of understanding of community leadership in Liverpool City Council, and examine the key skills knowledge and working practices of those viewed as effective Community leaders together with what changes have been made which have had a positive impact upon the role. It will also consider what needs to change further in light of the developing role for members and to effectively respond to legislation.
    • Comparing the effects of different absence entitlement contracts on attitudes towards absence and the psychological contract between two existing groups of employees at a north-west branch of Tesco

      Pepper, Catherine (University of ChesterChester Business School, 2006-11)
      This MA thesis discusses an area that has received very little previous investigation, but is becoming more relevant as organisations bring in new absence management techniques, creating different culture groups within the organisation. The study tacked three research objectives : 1) to assess whether the two groups psychological contracts differed, and which areas (i.e. trust, value, commitment, and fairness) were most affected, 2) to assess whether the two groups' attitudes towards absence differed, and finally 3) to assess whether the second group had lower absence levels
    • Comparison between the behaviour of junior aged children attending a unit for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties and similar children in mainstream classes

      Morgan, Gill; Wood, Michael H. (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 1995-07)
      This case study examines some of the children with the greatest frequency of behavioural problems on the playground of a particular junior school serving a socially deprived area. It looks at the historical factors which led to its present situation of having a special needs unit for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties and summarises the definition, assessment and provision for maladjusted/EBD children. It seeks to compare the unit children with their mainstream peers in order to ascertain whether the children are correctly placed within the unit, and whether others might not be equally deserving of places. It concludes that there may be considerable overlap between statemented unit children and mainstream children, with uncertainty as to which children should be referred, and what might be expected from the referral process. In the process the research examines the current situation with regard to providing consistent and workable criteria for assessing EBD children, concluding that the search for this is not yet over.
    • A comparison of cyclic fatigue failure of two nickel titanium rotary endodontic file systems that use different manufacturing methods: a ground file (RaCe™) and a new innovative controlled memory file (HyFlex CM™) in a simulated root canal

      Horrocks, Michael; du Preez, Henk J. (University of Chester, 2014-03)
      Research Question - Do controlled memory nickel titanium rotary endodontic files have greater resistance to cyclic fatigue than ground nickel titanium files , in vitro, at test temperatures near those encountered clinically? Context and previous research - Controlled memory rotary files became available in 2010. Two in vitro research papers testing their resistance to cyclic fatigue against ground files have been published to date. These studies conducted their research at room temperature using a three pin bending device to rotate the files around a curvature. They both had sample sizes of twelve files per group. Controlled memory files performed significantly (p < 0.05) better than ground files. Sample and setting - Forty seven HyFlexCM™ and forty eight RaCe™ files, both with a tip size of .25mm and constant taper of 6% were randomly acquired for comparison. The HyFlexCM™ files were sponsored by the manufacturer, the RaCe™ files were purchased from a U.K supplier. Both groups were run to failure at 500 revolutions per minute in an oil lubricated artificial canal constructed from hardened steel using electrical discharge sinking. The artificial canal tapered at 6%, from .35mm to 1.37mm with a 5mm radius of curvature and 90° bend in one plane. The test temperature was 35 ± 1 °C. Data collection and Analysis - Raw data, in seconds to failure, was recorded by the author and converted to number of rotations to failure. Significance level was set at .05. Statistical analysis was performed with SPSS™ statistical software. The Cox survival model was used to determine if there was a significant difference in the number of rotations to failure for each group. Findings - There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Conclusion - Controlled memory rotary endodontic files may be more likely to fail through cyclic fatigue when tested at clinically relevant temperatures rather than at room temperature as in previous studies.
    • Comparison of distance travelled, speed and heart rate among three outfield positions in amateur female hockey players

      Fallows, Stephen; Morris, Mike; Nicholas, Ceri; Boran, Angie (University of Chester, 2012-11)
      The aim of this research is to observe physical demands of amateur female hockey players during a hockey match. The research compares distance travelled, speed and heart rate (HR) between the three playing positions (forward, midfield, defence). Spencer, Rechichi, Lawrence, Dawson, Bishop and Goodman (2005) state that published research on physical demands of hockey is limited. There is even more limited research on women’s hockey and none based at amateur club level competition. SPIproX Global Positioning System (GPS) was used to measure the physical outputs of players during amateur female field hockey matches. Players were observed during competitive club level hockey matches over two thirty-five minute halves. The 36 players played in three different divisions 5, 9 and 13 of the Irish Leinster hockey league (age 28 ± 8.40 years, height 166 ± 7cm, body mass 63.0 ± 7.8kg; mean ± SD). Twelve players were randomly selected from each position (forward, midfield, defence). The mean distance covered per position was 6009 ± 796m for forwards, 6660 ± 542 m for midfield and 5896 ± 801m for defence. The results show that all midfield players have higher mean speed, (1.66 0.12m/s), than all forwards (1.58 ± 0.14 m/s) and defence (1.53 ± 0.19 m/s), though not significant (P > 0.05). Midfield players (169 ± 17 bpm) and forwards (169 ± 8 bpm) have higher mean HR, than defence (162 15 bpm). The defence were the most unique of the positional groups. They covered the least total distance, had the lowest average speed and lowest HR responses. The results, though lower, concurred with most of the literature reviewed in terms of positional differences in physical outputs and physiological demands. Differences in amateur versus international status may reflect differences in the findings in the current study. The implications of the current study suggest that position specific training and conditioning may be required. The lower level of physical outputs may suggest that training at elite level versus amateur level need to be specific to the level of the players.
    • A comparison of human-computer user interface methods: The effectiveness of touch interface compared to mouse

      Muncey, Andrew (University of Chester, 2014)
      This dissertation examines the effectiveness of a touch user interface when compared with that of a traditional mouse. The effectiveness of a second hand, used to hold a touch interface is also considered. Following an investigation into existing research in the domain of touch based user interfaces, an experiment was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of selection, dragging and gesture based input tasks undertaken with both a mouse and using a touch interface. Additionally operation of the touch interface when the device was held in the hand was compared to operation when the touch interface was situated horizontally on a desk, to determine the impact of bimanual operation. The findings suggest that there is little variation in usability between a touch device held in the hand and situated on a desk, but that the touch interface provides an improved experience for an end user over that of a mouse based interface not only for selection as previous researches had indicated, but also for dragging and gesture interaction based input.
    • A comparison of physical store versus online grocery shopping habits based on consumers’ environmental characteristics

      Burek, Cynthia V.; Bozkurt, Gulten (University of Chester, 2010-07)
      Background: In the world today, consumers are surrounded by technologies that promise to redefine the way that they interact and shop. There is increasing interest in understanding the effects of computer mediated shopping environments. The internet was commercially born in the 1990s and it was widely seen as only an electronic communication media. During those years, the uptake of online grocery services was slower than anticipated and still in the early stage of e-grocery. In terms of e-grocery shopping, some of the main factors that influence consumer’s choice not to shop online for groceries are delivery charges, time available for shopping, less enjoyment, lack of internet access, barrier to social aspect and issues surrounding privacy and security. Food shopping practices are an important aspect of balanced diet. Evidence shows that local food environment and community nutrition environments (e.g. availability, cost, quality, etc.) significantly influence people’s food shopping decisions as well as long term health. Furthermore, a variety of micro-environments (e.g. schools, workplaces, homes, restaurants, etc.), macro-environments (e.g. food industry, government, societal attitudes, etc.), the level of education and the socioeconomic status have an important influence on people’s food shopping decisions too. Aims: The aim of this study is to compare online with in-store grocery shopping in terms of consumers' environmental characteristics and food shopping habits. Subjects & Setting: A total of n= 101, 84 women, 17 male, from age range 18-74 years, from 54 in-store and 47 the online participants were recruited at Wigan town centre (Manchester). Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey design was used to collect data retrospectively at a single time point to compare whether regular grocery shoppers who buy online significantly differ in terms of environmental characteristics and grocery shopping habits to consumers who buy in store. The research design used two different locations for this study, Wigan town centre and the hair salon (Celly’s hairstyle international) which is based in Wigan town centre. People who were in the hair salon while waiting for service were asked to participate in the study. The data was collected at different times of the day on different days and weekends in order to maximize the diversity of respondents. Institutional review board approval was obtained from the University of Chester (March, 2010) and permission was sought from the hair salon owner (March, 2010) [Appendix 5]. Results: The results obtained in this study showed that there was no variation between the online and the physical store participants in relation to environmental characteristics when shopping for food/groceries. However, even so, just under ¾ of all participants “use-re-useable carrier bags” (71.3%), “buy free range food” (63.4%), “buy local products” (59.4%), “buy fair trade” (41.6%), “buy organic food” (29.7%) and finally ”avoid buying food that is not in season” (8.9%) were considered as environmental issues when shopping for food/groceries. However, those aged range “35-54”, higher educated, who work “full-time”, live with “2” and “3” people in household are more engaged with issues relating to shopping behaviour. Conclusions: Overall this study result shows that are no significant associations between the food shopping habits, between the environmental characteristics who buy food/groceries via internet to those consumers who buy in the store. However, significant associations were found between socio-demographic features in relation to environmental issues (e.g. organically produced, free range, food miles, seasonality of food) as well as economic issues (e.g. price, special offers, quality of food, brand name). Participants from age range “35-54” or older, highly educated, who work “full time”, live with “2” and “3” people household were more concerned about environmental and economic issues when shopping for food/groceries compared to youngest aged “18-24”, the least educated, who were “unemployed”, those with “5” or “5+” people in their household.
    • A Comparison of the Characteristic Traits of Learning Theories in the Three Synoptic Gospels by Thematic Narrative Analysis

      Middleton, Paul; Thackray, Gordon J. (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
      Many writers have discussed aspects of pedagogy in connection with the books of the New Testament but few have related pedagogical elements observable in the Gospels to current theories of how people learn and the consequent teaching methods. I perform, here, a thematic narrative analysis of the synoptic gospel texts, with the focus of contemporary approaches to learning and teaching. The project aims to identify traits of pedagogic themes throughout these gospels, with a view to establishing if it is appropriate to describe any of them as characterised by one or other of the commonly recognised theories of learning. While such a characterisation is not expected to be perfect across any one Synoptic, it could prove possible to demonstrate sufficient correlation with some theoretical learning model to argue that the gospel is typified by that pedagogy. This thesis also compares and contrasts the three synoptic gospels, in respect of their emphasis on those themes. The thesis outlines the salient features of the currently prominent learning and teaching approaches and considers the applicability of each model to this investigation. The three approaches found most useful for the analysis are: that referred to as behaviourism in teaching; a cognitive, constructivist pedagogic model; and the strongly situated learning theory. The synoptic gospels are examined for aspects of those themes, where possible, as a series of parallel passages, each regarded as a bounded text segment. Special Lukan material is also considered, separately. Any reader’s interpretation of such a narrative is constructed from within their own pre-existing framework for understanding it. My reading of the Gospels here is, therefore, a personal response to the text, which has arisen from my experience working in adult education and training. The conclusion of this work is that all three synoptic gospels exhibit textual features corresponding to a specific teaching and learning model sufficiently consistently to regard them as substantially informed by it. Furthermore, the Synoptics each exemplify a different pedagogical approach. Matthew’s gospel portrays a predominantly behaviourist pedagogy, the Gospel of Mark a generally cognitivist, constructivist approach to learning and teaching and Luke the characteristics of a strongly situative learning theory. It is anticipated that the comparison presented here will provide a new contribution to the discussion of the differences between the otherwise parallel accounts evident within the first three gospels.
    • Comparison of the functional exercise capacity outcome between horizontal and graded treadmill exercise training in myocardiac infarction patients

      Fallows, Stephen; Leung, Shun Y. (University of Chester, 2008-09)
      The purpose of the study was to compare the functional exercise capacity outcome between Horizontal and Graded Treadmill exercise training in Myocardial Infarction patients. Twenty patient participants who had myocardial infarction with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) were recruited in the study. They were randomly assigned into Horizontal Treadmill (HT) Training Group or Graded Treadmill (GT) Training Group. Both groups underwent the same Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation Program (CRP) which consisted of 2 sessions weekly that lasted for 8 weeks, including 10-minute warm up, 20-minute treadmill walking training, 10-minute upper arm ergometer, 10-minute resistance training using cuff weight and 10-minute cool down. 6-minute Walk Test was used as the functional exercise capacity outcome. All subjects were tested pre- and post-program. HT group needed to walk on a horizontal-treadmill (at gradient 0%); while GT group needed to walk on graded-treadmill (at gradient 13%). Both groups walked with the speed that could achieve the training heart rate for 20 minutes. Non-parametric test, that was Mann-Whitney U test and Wilcoxon test were adopted for the between group analysis and within group analysis respectively. After Phase II CRP, there were no significant difference between GT group and HT group in 6-minute walk distance (6MWD). However, there was significant gain in 6MWD after the program. It was concluded that there was no significant difference in the functional capacity outcome between Horizontal and Graded Treadmill exercise training in Myocardiac Infarction patients.
    • Comparison of two numerical methods for stochastic delay differential equations and the relationship between bifurcation approximations and step length

      Roberts, Jason; Edmunds, Nia (University of Chester, 2014-09-26)
      We give introductions to delay differential equations, stochastic differential equations, numerical approximations, Brownian motion and Ito calculus, stability and bifurcation points and Lyapunov exponents. Using these methods we replicate the calculations in the paper by Neville J. Ford & Stewart J. Norton, entitled Noise induced changes to the behaviour of semi implicit Euler methods for stochastic delay differential equations undergoing bifurcation . We present our results that correspond to some of the tables and equations presented in their paper. We then apply the same methodology using a Milstein numerical method with the same parameters and random distributions and compare these results with our ndings from the Euler-Maruyama scheme. We fi nd that the Milstein scheme exhibits the same relational behaviours between the bifurcation approximations from the Lyapunov exponents and step length as was presented in Ford and Norton's paper for the Euler-Maruyama scheme, we also find that the Milstein scheme maintains its greater accuracy up to and including the bifurcation approximation.
    • A comparison of varied and generalised mindfulness interventions on cold-induced pain in healthy adults

      Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Fleming, Suzanne (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular, not only in mainstream culture, but in a therapeutic context as well. Current research has shown that mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) can be used to manage pain as well as psychological distress. This raises fundamental questions about how interventions should be standardised and delivered. The aim of this study was to trial two MBIs, a ‘varied’ approach against a ‘generalised’ approach, and compare their efficacy. Twenty-two participants completed a battery of self-report questionnaires to establish baseline levels of mindfulness before completing a cold-pressor task designed to measure their pain tolerance. After completing either of the 15 minute mindfulness training, participants’ mindfulness levels and pain tolerances were reassessed. It was thought that after receiving one of these mindfulness-based interventions, participants would experience an increase in pain tolerance, as measured by a cold-pressor. It was also theorised that mindfulness training would have a positive effect on participants’ self-reported mindfulness. Contrary to expectations, the results did not reveal any significant interaction between either mindfulness interventions on pain tolerance nor self-reported mindfulness. Although the hypotheses were not supported, existing research recognises the complexities in defining and generalising mindfulness. Further work is needed to explore the underlying mechanisms of mindfulness and to establish the viability of providing therapist-free mindfulness training as method of pain-reduction.
    • A comparison of visual scan patterns for an elite judge, elite coach and novice judge in dressage

      Lafferty, Moira E.; Skyrme, Donna (University of Chester, 2013-09)
      Visual search patterns have often been studied in the sport domain with comparisons between expert and novice performers. Less research has been done comparing the visual search patterns of judges and in particular comparing the search patterns between elite judges and coaches. This study examines the visual search patterns of an elite judge, an elite coach and a novice judge over three dressage tests. The participants watched and judged three dressage tests lasting approximately five minutes each whilst wearing the ASL 501eye tracking device which recorded their eye gaze onto a video camera. Frame by frame analysis was completed for each participant on the eye tracking data and the number of fixations, the duration of the fixations and the location of the fixations were recorded. Analysis of the results found the two experts had similarities between their visual search patterns and as expected the novice judge had a greater number of fixations compared to the expert judge during two of the dressage tests. However, the expert judge had a lower duration time fixating than was expected compared to the novice judge and the expert coach. It is possible that the expert judge is able to process the information to make the decision more effectively. Therefore, more research is needed to explore the similarities of varying levels of expertise within sport to help develop and recognise what novice and intermediate judges or coaches need to improve to reach an elite standard and also to see if there are similarities or differences between elite performers, coaches and judges.
    • Compatible 'ways of being'?: A theoretical study of the compatibility of the person-centred approach and the Buddhist concept of mindfulness

      Mintz, Rita; Elias, David (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2001-11)
      The aim of this study is to examine the compatibility of the philosophical and conceptual frameworks underpinning the person-centred approach and the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to clarify whether or not there is theoretical consistency for practitioners influenced by both approaches. The methodology used is a critique of the literature presented thematically, with arguments supported and extended by the authors own views and experience. It was concluded that, with the exception of relationship as a medium for change, there is a high degree of theoretical compatibility between the two approaches.
    • The complexities of community involvement in Sure Start local programmes: A case study

      Artaraz, Kepa; Stredder, Katrina (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2006-10)
      Sure Start is a Government's scheme, the professed aim of which is to provide a positive commencement to life for children through the integration of early education, childcare, health and family support (Sure Start, 2005b). Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) were considered to be a fundamental aspect of this agenda (Sure Start 2005b). At the time of writing, SSLPs were transforming into Children's Centres (Glass, 2005). Strikingly, it has been claimed that the 'involvement' of the 'community', is the fundamental principle of SSLPs (Eisenstadt, 2002). Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests that SSLPs are considered to have a relatively unique approach to 'community involvement'. However, what 'community involvement' in SSLPs means in practice is largely unreported. Markedly, research into this area has concentrated on the formal mechanisms of 'community involvement' such as Management Boards and Parents' Forums (Marrow and Malin, 2004; Hassan, Spencer and Hogard, 2006; Briant, 2004; Lomas and Hannon, 2005 and Johnson, 2004). Consequently, this research aimed to explore 'community involvement' across SSLPs more broadly in order to address this identified gap in the literature. This research was fundamentally a case study of a particular SSLP. It utilised focus groups, with both service users and staff members, as a method of data generation. Additionally, it adopted the fundamental principles of a grounded theory approach to data analysis (Charmaz, 2006). The key finding of this research was that both staff and service users perceived the fundamental aspect of 'community involvement' to be the form of relationship developed between them. In particular, the informal nature of this relationship was stressed and highly valued. Thus, it may be considered essential that staff within Children's Centres develop such informal relationships with service users in order for families to access services in the first instance and for the services to be successful in meeting outcomes. In addition, staff within other initiatives and perhaps statutory services could benefit from the development of such informal relationships. A further implication of the high value placed on these informal relationships, is that the mode of measuring 'community involvement' within SSLPs should be altered. A move from measuring the number of 'community' representatives on the Management Board to a more exploratory investigation of the perceived quality of staff-service user relationships would be more useful and relevant. Other findings from this research should be carefully considered for the transition to Children's Centres and perhaps beyond. Areas for potential improvement include the extent to which the 'same few faces' are 'involved' and service users being more thoroughly informed regarding policy changes. More positive aspects of SSLPs which could be taken forward to Children's Centres include, the means of accessing the so called 'hard to reach' through Family Partnership Workers, outreach services, and free services and innovative informal volunteering opportunities, including one off activities and simply 'mucking in'. In addition, there were noticeable differences in the perceptions of different groups of staff members regarding the priority placed on 'community involvement' which should be explored further.