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Making the links: poverty, ethnicity and social networks

This report examines the ways in which people use social networks to help cope with or escape from poverty, and how this varies within and between ethnic groups. It shows how networks can also function to restrict ambition and hinder attempts to move on in life.

Drawing on interviews and case studies with people from a range of ethnicities and income brackets, the study explores how people’s propensity to use networks to move out of poverty is affected by different levels of awareness, access and ability.

The report:
• explores the ways in which ethnicity, gender and class play important roles in shaping people’s networks;
• illustrates how it can be hard for people in, or at the margins of, poverty to establish ‘bridging’ links with others who can create opportunities and advantage;
• emphasises the role of voluntary, community and faith organisations in supporting people to make connections that help them address poverty;
• suggests ways in which agencies can support people to use and extend their networks to help them move out of poverty