Family Learning in Local Communities

How can communities help foster an environment ripe for learning?

About this project

A new project from Common Vision sets out to study the informal activities that lay the foundations for healthy, resilient communities and contribute to intergenerational mixing and exchange. With the decline of the traditional town centre and new forms of technology facilitating social interaction, the ways in which we form and strengthen relationships are changing. This applies to relationships within families as much as other social groups.

We want to explore how families use local assets and community resources, with a specific focus on family learning. How can people utilise local assets and community services to learn new skills? What sorts of activities encourage different generations to participate together?

Our working definition of family learning refers to activities outside of a formal education setting, undertaken by members of two or more generations who have a family, guardianship or caring relationship. Through these activities, participants learn with and from each other.

Common Vision is working in partnership with SCL to explore what family learning means and how it can be facilitated by libraries and their partners. This project is funded by Arts Council England.


In early 2017 we will host a national conversation with a range of local organisations about how we should define family learning, what activities are currently on offer and how libraries and other community sites can work together to provide a range of activities that best meet families’ needs. Through a series of case studies from around England, we’ll explore what is currently on offer to families and what more could be done through innovative partnerships between libraries, community groups, and local enterprises.

Key questions

• What makes families want to learn together?
• How can communities help foster an environment ripe for learning?
• What role do libraries play in providing family learning activities?
• What is the wider social impact of family learning?

Further information

Contact Katy on for more information

Join the conversation

We want to hear from a wide range of perspectives about what communities can do to foster family learning. Tell us what you think in this 10 minute survey.