Count Me In Too was a unique research project that ran from 2007 – 2010. The project lead was Dr Kath Browne, formerly of the University of Brighton. The research team consisted of academic researchers and community activists. However, the project was made possible thanks to the hard work, energy and time of many many people. Count Me In Too is a product of their efforts and, as such, should never be considered as being ‘owned’ by any one person, institution or community. To try and capture the history of this award-winning project in detail would be impossible. What follows is a thumbnail sketch of the project’s history. The project ended in December 2010, but the research team are still eager to hear of how people engaged with the research, be it filling in a questionnaire, attending a focus group or using the published data.
To understand the history of the award-winning Count Me In Too project, it is important to recognise the project’s origins, which lie in the award-winning Count Me In project of 2000. This research was designed entirely by community members and was funded by the East Sussex Health Authority and Brighton & Hove Regeneration Partnership programme. Drawing on the findings of this research, a LGBT community strategy was created with key demands for improving the lives of LGBT people in Brighton & Hove. Many (but by no means all) action points were directed at the creation and provision of services. From Count Me In the community forum Spectrum was formed, in part to hold mainstream services accountable to LGBT communities.
By 2005 the LGBT community strategy was nearing its end and there was a demand for further up to date evidence, with which to inform future work. During a CUPP-matching event at the University of Brighton, Dr Kath Browne was introduced to a Spectrum trustee, and this meeting led to a funding bid being submitted to CUPP. This bid kick-started Count Me In Too.
A series of open consultations were instigated and a steering group formed, which guided the design of the research. During early 2006 a call was put out for stakeholders to submit questions for the questionnaire. Data collection in the form of focus groups and a questionnaire was undertaken in 2006.
From Autumn 2006-Spring 2007 initial analysis of the data was undertaken by the LGBT analysis group. The first reports on the findings of Count Me In Too were released in June 2007. From this point until July 2009 a series of in-depth finding analyses were undertaken with reports released covering a wide range of topics. These included:
- Domestic Violence & Abuse
- Community Safety
- Mental Health
- General Health
- Bi People
- Trans People
- Drugs & Alcohol
These reports were guided by analyses groups consisting of key stakeholders relating to the relevant issues and funded by appropriate services/commissioners.
In the midst of these finding reports, the project began a new phase, using a substantial grant from the South East Coastal Communities (SECC) Fund. This phase saw Count Me In Too undertake more consultation with LGBT individuals, communities and organisations, to assess how the findings of the research should be further disseminated. The With Us, By Us, For Us community consultation event took place in April 2009 and this report provides more details of the day itself, visitor numbers and the feedback generated from the event.
Through such consultation the project identified a number of ways in which this and other LGBT research in the city could be disseminated. These included a series of exhibitions, both within Brighton & Hove and further afield, that provided easy access to key findings and further information on the project. Learn more about these exhibitions in our project library.
In the Autumn of 2009 the LGBT Research Information Desk came into being, providing individuals, communities and organisations in Brighton & Hove with an opportunity to access and use LGBT-related research. The desk ran a ‘get your data’ day, providing a means of accessing the Count Me In Too data and produced three further themed reports at the request of community groups and activists. See the project library for this collated research.
The following year (2010) saw Count Me In Too co-host (with the Brighton and Sussex Sexualities Network) a national conference at Jury’s Inn Hotel, Brighton. The Transforming LGBT Lives conference was attended by over 100 academics, researchers, activists, service providers and interested individuals. Full information on the conference can be found on our dedicated pages. The event included a diverse range of voices from the academic, community and statutory sectors and was an energetic and dynamic day of knowledge exchange and learning.
As the project drew to a close in 2010, stakeholders in the research were invited to feedback to the project through an evaluation focus group.