Community Development Workers spend time in the places where people meet – such as community centres, streets, or schools. They listen to people’s hopes and ideas, and encourage them to make connections with their neighbours or others with the same interests. They support people to come together to make positive change for themselves and others where they live.
The assets within communities, such as the skills and knowledge, social networks and community organisations, are building blocks for good health.
(‘A guide to community-centred approaches for health andwellbeing’, Public Health England 2015)
How we work
Community Development Workers work with people to connect them with the positive things already happening. A key principle is to not do for individuals and communities what they can do for themselves.
By encouraging people to discover the positive things that already exist in the neighbourhood where they live, a fuller picture of a whole community is built that doesn’t just focus on problems and needs. It creates a positive platform from which to build stronger, healthier and happier communities.
Community Development Workers create opportunities to meet people, to build relationships and trust, and to encourage them to share their ideas, passions and priorities.
- In Hampden Park, the Team went out with a newly elected councillor who had lived in the area all his life. He showed them around and told them anecdotes about the area from his childhood. He described how the area has changed over time and explained its history.
- “Pop up” events have been held in most of the neighbourhoods, such as in Walshes Park in Crowborough; Shinewater Park and Willingdon Trees in Eastbourne; and at the Fish Festival in Newhaven. These provide opportunities for people to map positive things happening locally, and to share their ideas, hopes and dreams for new things they might like to see or set up.
Community Development Workers encourage people to make connections with their neighbours and with other people and places that can offer their skills and resources to make positive change.
- Neighbourhood Sparks events have take place in Peacehaven, Bexhill, Polegate, Hollington and Hampden Park. They are planned and delivered with local residents with aims to :
- Celebrate community successes
- Share learning and make connections
- Make decisions on a budget for local community projects
- Invite decision makers to come and listen
“Thank you everyone for arranging this amazing event. We have managed to meet so many wonderful people from the community. They all showed us support for our project.”
(Participant at the Peacehaven Sparks event.)
- Community, Connection and Cake! is a network for anyone with an interest in this approach that builds on the positive things that already exist in every neighbourhood. It’s an opportunity to meet, connect, learn and celebrate the amazing things that are happening. The first event took place in April 2022 in Newhaven.
There is more and more feedback from residents about the impact which being involved in community activity is having on their lives.
- “The Crochet Club is hugely valued, both as a hobby but also as a social activity. A number of the volunteers found that it was more than just social, it offered emotional and practical support from other members on many topics and levels”. (Hailsham)
Our approach is based on the principles and values of Asset Based Community Development: ABCD Institute
Grants allocated to individuals and groups with a good idea for a community project between June 2020 and October 2023.