“To help me, you must be able to understand who I am, where I come from and how I see the world”

Prime Focus

The core of the CEI’s ethos is the notion that engagement should not be something 'done to' communities, rather that the way forward in terms of identifying and consulting on issues, disseminating information, education and awareness raising and increasing the numbers of people from diverse communities in the workforces is via the communities themselves. In short, the best innovations for change and solutions for addressing complex issues come from those communities who are at the receiving end of services.


We have extensive experience of working with a wide range of service user groups who are traditionally less well engaged with or involved in services. Although our view is that services are hard to reach rather than communities. Some of the groups and communities we have we engaged with include:

  • Mental Health Service Users

  • Offenders

  • People with alcohol and drug problems

  • Veterans

  • Gypsy Romany and Traveler communities

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communties

  • Disabled service users

  • Black and minority ethnic (BAME) service users

  • Older people

  • Young people 

Some of the organisations we have worked with to help improve their engagement with service users, staff and local communities includes:

  • NHS England

  • Department of Health

  • The Legal Ombudsman

  • Luton Borough Council

  • Northamptonshire County Council

  • Nottinghamshire PCT

We have undertaken large scale staff and service user surveys and have skills and experience in a range of methods for engaging and involving people in service design, evaluation and delivery.

Gypsy Romany and Travellers

CIE have been working with Gypsy Romany and Traveller communities on a range of issues including access to health services, education and experiences with the criminal justice system. We have been doing this work in partnership with Gypsylife. Gypsylife is about being a true community endeavor that is run by people from the community for the people of the community.  This is the driving force behind Gypsylife and the reason for its success. To learn more about this work click the link here.

The Model

Community engagement: the Centre for Ethnicity and Health model. (2007). Jane Fountain, Kamlesh Patel, Jez Buffin.


This paper briefly describes the community engagement model developed during the Community Engagement Programme conducted across England by the Centre for Ethnicity and Health (CEH) , Faculty of Health, University of Central Lancashire. 


The article is part of the reader: ‘Overcoming Barriers – migration, marginalisation and access to health and social services’, Amsterdam, 2007.

Engagaing and Changing

A report commissioned by the National Institute for Mental Health (2003) on ways in which to develop effective policy for the care and treatment of Black and minority ethnic detained patients.

The Department of Health’s Black and Minority Ethnic Drug Misuse Needs Assessment Project

This report presents the findings from 51 needs assessment reports carried out by 47 community groups on drug education, prevention and treatment issues across a wide range of communities including 30 different national and ethnic groups.

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