Community development workers help communities to bring about social change and improve the quality of life in their local area. They work with individuals, families and whole communities to empower them to:
A community development worker often acts as a link between communities and a range of other local authority and voluntary sector providers. They are frequently involved in addressing inequality, and projects often target communities perceived to be culturally, economically or geographically disadvantaged.
Community development work seeks to actively engage communities in making sense of the issues which affect their lives, setting goals for improvement and responding to problems and needs through empowerment and active participation. A good deal of the work is project based, which means that community development workers usually have a specific geographical community or social group on which to focus.
Tasks often involve:
Community work can be generic or specialised. Generic community work takes place in a particular geographical area, focusing on working with the community to identify their needs and issues, and formulating strategies to address those issues. The setting is either urban or rural, with rural community development work increasingly attracting attention. Specialised community work focuses on either specific groups within a region (such as the homeless, the long-term unemployed, families with young children or ethnic minorities) or on particular concerns (such as public transport, mental health or tackling drug abuse).
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