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Community development  

Community development

Premiercallcentre.co.uk view community development as a profession that integrates knowledge from many disciplines with theory, research, teaching, and practice. We are here to help you bring out the best in business.

The key purpose of community development work is collectively to bring about social change and justice, by working with communities to:

  • identify their needs, opportunities, rights and responsibilities
  • plan, organise and take action
  •  evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the action …all in ways which challenge oppressions and tackle inequalities.

Communities’ can be defined geographically and/or by interest

Community development starts from the premise that within any community there is a wealth of knowledge and experience which, if used in creative ways, results in high levels of participation and can be channelled into collective action to achieve the communities' desired goals.

Community development workers work alongside people in communities, build relationships with key people and organisations to facilitate the identification of common concerns, and help build autonomous groups. They create opportunities for non-formal learning, which will help to increase the capacity of communities. By enabling people to act together, community development workers help to foster social inclusion and equality. Education and training needs are based on core values and processes characterised by autonomy of individuals and groups, change and development, justice and equality, collective action and skills of participatory learning.

Community development workers support individuals, groups and organisations in this process on the basis of certain values and practice principles

Community development, often abbreviated as CD, and informally called community building, is a broad term applied to the practices and academic disciplines of civic leaders, activists, involved citizens and professionals to improve various aspects of local communities.

Community development seeks to empower individuals and groups of people by providing these groups with the skills they need to effect change in their own communities. These skills are often concentrated around building political power through the formation of large social groups working for a common agenda. Community developers must understand both how to work with individuals and how to affect communities' positions within the context of larger social institutions.

There are complementary definitions of community development. The Community Development Challenge report, which was produced by a working party comprising leading UK organisations in the field (including Community Development Foundation, Community Development Exchange and the Federation of Community Development Learning) defines community development as:

    "A set of values and practices which plays a special role in overcoming poverty and disadvantage, knitting society together at the grass roots and deepening democracy. There is a CD profession, defined by national occupational standards and a body of theory and experience going back the best part of a century. There are active citizens who use CD techniques on a voluntary basis, and there are also other professions and agencies which use a CD approach or some aspects of it."

Community Development Exchange defines community development as:

    “The process of developing active and sustainable communities based on social justice and mutual respect. It is about influencing power structures to remove the barriers that prevent people from participating in the issues that affect their lives.

    Community workers (officers) facilitate the participation of people in this process. They enable connections to be made between communities and with the development of wider policies and programmes.

    Community Development expresses values of fairness, equality, accountability, opportunity, choice, participation, mutuality, reciprocity and continuous learning. Educating, enabling and empowering are at the core of Community Development.”

Community development practice

Community development practitioners are involved in organizing meetings and conducting searches within a community to identify problems, identify assets, locate resources, analyze local power structures, assess human needs, and investigate other concerns that comprise the community's character (case study). These practitioners, sometimes called social activists, use social resources to get the economic and political leverage that a community uses to meet their needs. Often, the social resources within the community are found to be adequate to meet these needs if individuals work collectively through techniques like cooperation and volunteerism. A form of community development that links academic resources to community problems in a reciprocally beneficial manner is community-based participatory research (CBPR), a form of research which engages a community fully in the process of problem definition/issue selection, research design, conducting research, and interpreting the results. One of the principal ways in which CBPR differs from traditional research is that instead of creating knowledge for the advancement of a field or for knowledge's sake, CBPR is an iterative process, incorporating research, reflection, and action in a cyclical process. In the UK Rural Community Councils support local communities to build sustainable futures. They assist local communities in a form of CBPR called community led planning. Rural Community Councils employ experienced, independent community development workers.

A number of different approaches to community development can be recognized, including:

  • Community economic development (CED)
  • Community capacity building
  • Social capital formation
  • Political participatory development
  • Nonviolent direct actionE
  • Ecologically sustainable development
  • Asset-based community development
  • Faith-based community development
  • Community practice social work
  • Community-based participatory research (CBPR)
  • Community mobilization
  • community empowerment
  • Community participation
  • Participatory planning including community-based planning (CBP)
  • community-driven development (CDD)
  •  approaches to funding communities directly

Community building and organizing

Community building is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community between individuals within a regional area (such as a neighbourhood) or with a common interest. It is sometimes encompassed under the field of community development.

A wide variety of practices can be utilized for community building, ranging from simple events like potlucks and small book clubs, to larger–scale efforts such as mass festivals and building construction projects that involve local participants rather than outside contractors. Activists engaged in community building efforts in industrialized nations see the apparent loss of community in these societies as a key cause of social disintegration and the emergence of many harmful behaviors. They may see building community as a means to increase social justice, individual well-being and reduce negative impacts of otherwise disconnected individuals.

Community organizing is a process by which people are brought together to act in common self-interest. While organizing describes any activity involving people interacting with one another in a formal manner, much community organizing is in the pursuit of a common agenda. Many groups seek populist goals and the ideal of participatory democracy. Community organizers create social movements by building a base of concerned people, mobilizing these community members to act, and developing leadership from and relationships among the people involved.

At premiercallcentre.co.uk we aim to support the development of communities: advancing and promoting community development learning at local, regional and national levels, and creating opportunities for your company. Contact us today, our staff whom are based in our UK site, are on hand to answer your call. We have proven track record in delivering a whole range of call handling whatever it may-be.

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