Social care for marginalised communities: balancing self-organisation, micro-provision and mainstream support
This briefing reviews recent research on social care support provision for certain people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, who are often seldom heard in mainstream services. It draws out messages for social care micro-providers and social care commissioners, focusing on two areas: the marginalising dynamics in mainstream, statutory social care support provision for certain people with protected characteristics; and how local community, specialist or small-scale services are responding to unmet need for support and advice among marginalised groups. The majority of research identified looked at issues and experiences of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, with a large number of studies dedicated to understanding the role of family carers, particularly from South Asian backgrounds. A smaller body of work on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) older people and carers was found. Similarly, a number of research studies on support for and by refugees and asylum seekers were identified. Some research on the role of faith was also found. By comparing research findings across several groups, common issues about engagement with mainstream services and the function of community based and specialist support became apparent. The main themes and messages coming from the research for commissioners and providers focus on: strategies for responding to marginalisation from the mainstream, including assets and community mobilisation, reciprocity and social inclusion, informal networks and self-organisation; accessing and engaging with mainstream provision, highlighting issues of fear of discrimination, uniformity and homogenisation, language and communication; relationship dynamics between large, traditional mainstream and small, specialist community, including capacity building and partnerships, advocacy and accessing mainstream support, choice and voice; understanding informal support in diverse communities, in which a key role is played by culture, stigma and shame, well-being, identity and resilience, and faith; and effective approaches, including emotional and social support, and non-conventional, networked and holistic support.