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Seeking to Engage ‘Hard-to-Reach’ Families: Towards a Transferable Model of Intervention


Dr Maria Evangelou, Department of Education, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY, UK, Tel.: +44(0)1865-274012. E-mail:


This paper describes an exploratory evaluation of the Peers Early Education Partnership ‘Room to Play’, an innovative and experimental ‘drop-in’ service seeking to attract and engage ‘hard-to-reach’ families in one of the most deprived areas of a Midlands city. Located in a shop unit of a busy community shopping centre, it offers play and learning activities for children, and provides opportunities for parents to talk to practitioners in a neutral and supportive environment. Through a mixed methods design, the authors attempted to document the core components of a potential transferable model of intervention, within challenging research constraints.