Community Development - A new start
part of mission
- builds communities
rooted in people's experience, starts where they are
- works through participation
- crosses boundaries, class, culture, ethnicity,
- helps the meeting of the city, weeping and celebrating, with
the Church, praying and worshiping
Following Ann Stricklen's death in March 1999, external consultants,
commissioned jointly by the Board for Church in Society and the Woolwich Area
Mission Team, evaluated the Community Development post.
report endorsed overwhelmingly the value of Ann's work and the need for the
work to continue, and suggested some key changes to the way it should be done,
which were accepted by the Board and the Area.
What are the key changes?
significant change is to give priority to Urban Priority Area parishes.
Training, publications and briefing papers will be available to the whole of
the Diocese, but hands on individual work will only be accessible to UPA
parishes. Jill McKinnon, the new Community Development Adviser for the Diocese,
is a core member of the Woolwich Area Mission
Team, 74% of whose parishes are
UPA, but UPA parishes in the Kingston and Croydon Areas will have an equal
claim on her time.
is a requirement for the Adviser to produce a strategy for work, and to monitor
and evaluate its delivery. This involves a shift of culture, not just for the
field, but for the Church of England!
strategy for the next 3 years has already been produced, and agreed by the
Board for Church in Society and the Woolwich Area Council. Contact Jill if you
would like a copy.
on, a simple agreement will be drawn up, which will include the aims, mutual
expectations and when progress will be reviewed. Jill says "I hope this will
help us all to focus our work, to get the best from each other and to know when
we have achieved what we set out to achieve!"
first test for the new system will come with St Peter's,
Walworth, and they
seem quite keen on the idea.
What is Community Development?
Community Development is about building 'community'. It includes how
people use their building for community use, how they find out about local
needs, and how they respond to those needs. Take, for example, Together in
Notre Dame in Clapham...
a steering group worked with Ann Stricklen, Community Development Adviser, to
look at local needs and resources, and develop a proposal for a community
project operating on the Notre Dame estate.
bids were successful, and they appointed a Community Development Worker in
1997. The project has gone from strength to strength, and now includes an
annual carnival, a well-established youth project, holiday playschemes and
workshops for adults and children.
Community Development is... Part of mission
Community development is part of the church's mission, alongside other
Diocesan fields - such as race relations, evangelism, lay training. There are
many overlaps, and the community development worker will be working
collaboratively with many colleagues.
Community Development is... Helping people
Community development is about helping people without power or
confidence to find ways of participating and enabling change.
means always starting where people are, and building on their experience, with
Orchard Community Project in Deptford has elected local residents onto their
Management Committee as a step towards ensuring that the community agenda, not
just the church agenda, is addressed.
Community Development is... Participative
Development training will aim to be participative and experiential with
publications and bulletins in handbook style, with checklists, 'user friendly'
language, and pictures.
Community Development is a... Slow process
Community development is a long slow process - results don't tend to
happen overnight and, like decorating, if you want good results you have to
spend most of the time in careful preparation work. The impact of the work on
both individuals and communities is long term and sustainable. It can change
Community Development is... A gospel
Community development builds on a gospel requirement to proclaim our faith and
serve our neighbour. This Diocese has a strong tradition of community action
and local involvement - church members have individual ministries in the local
community, and community groups often share church buildings. The church is the
only organisation which exists for the people outside of it, welcomes all
comers and is truly local - even its workers live there.
be the 'glue' which holds together other community agencies and initiatives,
both statutory and voluntary.
Community Development takes... Energy and time
responding to needs involves energy and time. As Community development Adviser,
Jill McKinnon hopes to encourage and tell people about why it's important and
how to do it well, even in what may seem like small ways. At
Bellingham they have set up 'Rolling dun-Stones', a parent and toddler group
which truly responds to the needs of local parents, involves them in its
organisation, and encourages and expects high standards of behaviour and child
care from its users.