News Archive

Community Work Regenerated

Posted on Monday, January 01, 2001

There is a rebirth of community work going on and some of the key positions of the Union and the community work field are now at the heart of government policy. Importantly there is a growing recognition that community work is a skilled occupation requiring new qualifications and, if the Union has its way, decent national terms and conditions under JNC. The idea that any one can do it and the community activist was more important than the paid worker, should now be a thing of the past of the government's and local government and voluntary sector aspirations are to be met permanently.

In this section General secretary Doug Nicholls takes a brief look at some of the key documents promoting and assisting this revivial and providing advice and guidance to a new generation of workers and policy makers on how to ensure an inclusive, community development approach. All of the books referred to below are recent Publications from Community Development Foundation which are available from. The CDF is 75% funded by the government and has over the last few years asserted a central and important role in developments.

Community Development Foundation
60 Highbury Grove
London N5 2AG.
Tel: 0207 226 5375
Fax: 0207 704 0313
Email: [email protected]

Alison West, Chief Executive of the Community Development Foundation will be addressing CYWU Conference on Friday 11th May in Plymouth. Community work issues will also be taken up at Conference by Val Woodward, lecturer in community work at Plymouth University.

Henderson, Paul and Salmon, H (1998) Signposts to Local Democracy. Local Governance, Communitarianism and Community Development.

Published in conjunction with the Warwick Business School, Local Government Centre, this 53 page essay, puts the untried theories of 'communitarianism' imported by some from the United States and asserts the value to the whole social inclusion agenda of solid community development approaches and reappraises the value of such work in the democratic process. Any booklet by two former Westhill College community work lecturers is bound to be good.

Taylor, Marilyn, Barr, Alan and West, Alison. (2000) Signposts to Community Development.

Again advancing the case for community development in individual and area regeneration, this useful introductory pamphlet would be ideal for your management committee or local councillors, to prove the worth of involving the community.

Chanan, Gabriel, Gilchrist, Alison and West, Alison. (1999) Involving the Community, ERB 6.

This is an excellent practical tool, that all members involved with SRB should get. It offers guidelines to implementing and planning the community participation aspects of the government's single regeneration budget round 6, but its use goes beyond just this latest funding stream, most of the principles underpinning the guidance will apply equally across a range of initiatives. Practical, hands on advice for your community group, local planning people. It could act as a useful counterweight to all those who have cobbled SRB bids together ignoring the communities they are supposed to benefit.

Twelvetrees, Alan, (Ed) (1998) Community Economic Development, Rhetoric or Reality.

This is a three hundred page collection of essays drawing on Alan's huge network of contacts throughout the world and through a collection of essays by different authors looks particularly at community economic development as expressed in the development of businesses, trusts, building based developments, ethnic minority projects, public private initiatives. It looks at how community economic development has grown in the UK and elsewhere, how it has been financed and how supported and how it is taking off in Eastern Europe. For examples of practice and raw materials for more analystical debate of this set of issues, this book cannot be beaten.

Holman, Kay. (1999). New Connections, Joined up access to public services.

Kay Holman is Executive Director of Public Service Access Partnerships and writes passionately using ten case studies of the advantages of seeing local people in context requiring a holistic approach to their development as consumers and citizens. She sees three models for making public services more accessible and usable - the transactional, the engaging and the transformational, and we are all subject and object of these models at different times and in relation to different services, aspiring, in order to defeat the democratic deficit to be as engaged in transformation as possible. She looks at the new ways in which agencies are relating to people, the ways agencies relate to each other and interestingly how the eeffect of all this can be measured and what obstacles stand in the way. An ideal publication for the interagency work modules on our unique JNC training courses.

Church, Chris, Cade, Adam, Grant, Adrienne (2000). An environment for everyone. Social exclusion, poverty and environmental action.

Important publication for CYWU members keen to break the divide between inhuman environmental concerns and more human social welfare issues. The two of course are connected, the environment is very much a human construct and our poorest citizens live in the worst environments with all the related health problems. 14 very interesting case studies show how environmental action can be achieved with inclusivity and the relief of poverty in mind.

Working with Communities, Policy, Best Practice, Community Initiatives (2000)

CDF's how to wallet of support materials. A good in service training present for your management committee.

Chanan, Gabriel, Garratt, Charlie and West, Alison. (2000) New Community Strategies - How to involve local people.

Youth and community lecturer Hilary Armstrong at the DETR, has no doubt influenced a great deal of the new government thinking making the involvement of the community a required aspect of planning and growth. In December 2000 the DETR published it Preparing Community Strategies: government guidance to local authorities. This CDF publication seeks to flesh this out and provide ideas at local level for making this a reality. There should be no cycnicism about either the DETR aspirations, nor the CDF's but how do we stop Vauxhall's devastating action in Luton, Fords in Dagenham, or Corus Steels in Llanwern. Involving the community needs to become increasingly real but based on a national ability to clip the wings of the multinationals.

Local Government Association Issues and Advice Paper, (Particularly Paragraph 6, Consulting and Involving Local People)

Guidance on preparing community strategies can be found on the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions Webpage See Local Strategic Partnerships, Neighbourhood Renewal and the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and the New Deal for Communities and on Neighbourhood Management and especially Preparing Community Strategies: government guidance to local authorities.

Skinner, Steve (1998) Building Community Strengths, A resource book on capacity building.

A very practical and clear support guide to capacity building in community development, developing people and organisations, community infrastructure and plans and strategies. A statement of the current revival and a demonstration that community work is not for amateurs, but requires a trained and skilled profession.

Church, Chris and McHarry, Jan (1999) One Small Step…A guide to action on sustainable development in the UK.

In the general return to collectivist, mutual support principles that is taking place, the case study based look at environmental action complements Church's Environment for Everyone, mentioned above, and takes a detailed look at the main players in environmental action and provides a comprehensive contacts list for helpful organisations in this field.

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