Community development is action that helps people to recognise and develop their ability and potential and organise themselves to respond to problems and needs which they share.
It supports the establishment of strong communities that control and use assets to promote social justice and help improve the quality of community life. It also enables community and public agencies to work together to improve the quality of government.
Community development support involves working with communities to:
- Identify their strengths, needs, rights and responsibilities
- Plan, organise and take action
- Assess the effect of any actions taken
It also involves working with agencies to increase their capacity to understand and work with communities. Communities can be based on where people live (geographic communities), or on a shared concern, issue or identity (communities of interest).
Types of Community Development Support provided by BCRC include:
Building Communities Resource Centre (BCRC) currently offers a range of services to its member groups in the North East, such as:
- Administrative assistance including PAYE support
- Group start-up advice and assistance, from developing a constitution to delivering training workshops on good governance, policy development support and assistance with applications for Charitable Status
- Advice on accessing and sourcing funding
- Provision of information through monthly Community Newsletter
- Room and equipment hire
- Strategic development, action and project planning
- Resource Equipment and literature
- Facilitation of Networking through Community Network
- A Forum for consultation – ensuring that the voices of communities are heard by policy makers and decision takers. This includes conducting focus groups, facilitating consultation workshops.
- Community auditing - supporting groups to map services in their areas and to identify need
- Representation of network members and interest communities of interest at inter-agency meetings at both local and regional level
- Facilitation and assistance with development and management of new projects
- AccessNI Checks and policy development for groups working with children and vulnerable adults.
Training and Capacity Building
This is a very important element of community development which can empower groups and communities to take control and effect change in their areas.
Types of training offered by BCRC:
- Applying for Funding and Sustainability
- Business Continuity
- Cultural Awareness and Cultural Competency
- Disability Awareness
- Hands off My Friend – anti-hate crime training
- Healing the Hidden Menace – dealing with Intimidation
- Showing Your True Colours – symbols and identity
- Lobbying and Campaigning
- Good Governance and Committee skills
- Needs assessment
- Prejudice Awareness
- Safeguarding children and young people