Social Exclusion

The best way to begin this toolkit would seem to be to define social exclusion so that users of the kit would know exactly what it was looking to address. Having looked at many definitions, some of which manage not to define it at all, the best I can offer is the following:

An individual or group is socially excluded if they live in a geographical area where they cannot participate in the normal activities that others in that area do, and they would like to so participate, but are prevented from doing so by factors beyond their control.

Now this, of course, opens up the issue of what participation this refers to. A useful way to view this is that it is about :

  • earning a reasonable income (at least half of the mean income of the area)
  • being engaged in education, training, employment or home-making
  • having a social or family support network
  • being able to have a voice on issues that affect them i.e. political engagement.

For the purposes of this kit, the focus is on reducing social exclusion amongst young people. So it is about projects that help young people be successful in education, training or employment, thus achieving a reasonable income; have a network of support, be that family or friends and practically engage in decision-making structures that affect them. Alternatively it could be about successful home-making, including parenting and associated skills.