Although community inclusion brings a number of advantages for vulnerable individuals, it can also entail a range of challenges, and draws in issues of safety and security. This qualitative psychological study, therefore, aimed to explore the challenges being faced by two groups of vulnerable individuals: those with intellectual disabilities and dementia, and how these could be addressed in order to establish a community that is safe and welcoming for all. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with a range of community stakeholders—for instance, local businesses, residents, and individuals with intellectual disabilities, dementia and their carers—and data was thematically analysed to explore the issue of inclusion and participation particularly in relation to stigma and prejudice, self-worth, social isolation and feeling safe. As well as highlighting practical issues regarding inclusion and support, the work emphasised the psychological dimension, linking to a multi-faceted conception of community participation. While significant work is already addressing issues of risk and safety for vulnerable populations (such as “Keep Safe” schemes), the work described here leads to an alternative conceptualization, tied to notions of kindness in communities with a view to crafting communities capable of safely welcoming a wider variety of marginalized groups.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited