Children's Centres as spaces of interethnic encounter in North East England

Judith Parks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

This paper explores the role of Sure Start Children's Centres as spaces of encounter between new migrants to the UK and ‘White English’ residents in host communities. Children's Centres were selected as the context for the research because they serve people with common needs (families with pre-school children), and because building social capital and mutual support among parents is part of their core purpose (Department for Education. (2013). Sure Start Children's Centres: Statutory guidance for local authorities, commissioners of local health services and Jobcentre Plus. Retrieved from http://www.media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/s/childrens%20centre%20stat%20guidance%20april%202013.pdf). Drawing on data from semi-structured interviews conducted with service users from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds (recent migrants) and service users representing ‘the majority’ white population in two urban areas in North East England, it explores the role of ethnicity and other factors relating to migration in shaping encounters in these spaces, and considers the perceived benefits of these interactions. It finds that interethnic encounter in Children's Centres is often seen by new migrant parents/carers primarily as an opportunity to improve English language skills, meeting an additional need to that of local ‘indigenous’ parents/carers. It further found that new migrant parents/carers often perceived Children's Centres as an opportunity to experience a particular version of the local community, facilitating more predictable encounters than encounters in the wider host community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-908
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2015

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