This month saw a key achievement for the Together Study as we completed the recruitment phase of our randomised control trial looking at the impact of the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities Programme on family wellbeing. This means that we met the research target and had recruited 672 participants to the study since it began back in 2019. This is an incredible achievement given the challenges that a global pandemic presented to SFSC facilitators and the research team during this data collection phase.
The study has been successful in recruiting parents and carers that research studies often do not engage and hear from, but that we know the SFSC programme consistently delivers to, including parents from diverse ethnic and faith backgrounds and those experiencing social and economic deprivation. So of the 672 parents recruited to the study, around 30 per cent of them have annual household incomes of less that £10,000; 70 per cent are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds; 50 percent speak a language other than English at home, and 40 per cent are from the muslim community.
It is important to recognise that it is rare for research studies, particularly RCT’s to secure such a diverse set of research participants across minority communities from some very deprived communities. As such it is a significant achievement that we are incredibly proud of and reflects what we know about who takes up SFSC and how hard facilitators work to engage groups that often other services struggle to.
Professor Richard Watt from UCL who is the Principle Investigator on this study commented that the success in securing 672 participants reflects the hard work of the research team and the Race Equality Foundation; the agencies that have taken part in the study, particularly some key community organisations and extremely supportive individuals, including the Public Involvement group; and of course the commitment of the SFSC facilitators who delivered the 35 programmes that were part of this trial .
Programmes included in the research took place across London (including in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Tower Hamlets, Ealing and Wandsworth), and in a number of locations across Yorkshire and West Humber (including, Hull, Leeds, Kirklees and Calderdale). Agencies involved included a number of Early Help Teams, Parenting Teams, and Groupwork services, as well as community organisations, such as Westway Trust, Minik Kardes, the Somali Youth Development Resource Centre and Muslim Community Association, providing specialist language delivery in Arabic, Turkish, Somali and Bengali.
The study still has some time to run. We continue to collect follow up data from some of the research participants, will carry on interviewing key individuals as part of a wider process evaluation and of course start the analysis of the data from those 672 people who gave us so much of their time and information relating to their families. We are looking forward to seeing what the data tells us and will be disseminating this as well as lessons learned for implementing a research study like this in community settings. We will also continue to work with the Public Involvement groups of SFSC parents and young people to shape and reflect on the findings and develop dissemination plans that when implemented have a real impact on research studies and services going forward.