1. Focus on disd!n"#$
It is generally recognised that the benefits of social and economic development
are not equally distributed. Some groups and individuals benefit less than
others. The model of Community Development activity that is discussed here is
focused on overcoming poverty and disadvantage and is in the context of the
Family Resource Centre rogramme.
Community Development see!s to challenge the causes of disadvantage and to
offer chances for those lac!ing choice" po#er and resources. Community
development #or! supports people to #or! collectively for social change #hich
#ill improve the quality of their lives and the communities in #hich they live. It is
a collective process #ith an emphasis on process" $how change is achieved% as
#ell as outcome" $what is achieved%. It helps people to identify and articulate
their needs" and influence the decision ma!ing process and structures that affect
Community development #or! is therefore about the involvement of people in the
issues #hich effect their lives. In the longer term it enables them to act together
to influence and assert control over social" economic and political issues.
%. &'nc$ o( )o*$+
Community development is about promoting positive change in society in favour
of those #ho benefit least. It engages the s!ills" !no#ledge and experience of
local people in ta!ing initiatives to respond to social" economic and political
problems. This may not" but often does" involve co&operation at some level #ith
statutory agencies. In this sense" community development focuses on the
relationships bet#een people and the range of institutions and decision ma!ers
$public and private% #hich govern their everyday experiences. Community
development aims to bring about a change in the balance of po#er and create
structures #hich facilitate more local control.
,. Disc+i-in"ion
'perating from a Community Development approach requires ro(ects confront
the attitudes of individuals and ) or the practices of institutions #hich negatively
discriminate against people under the nine grounds outlined in the *quality
+egislation as follo#s,
Gender: - man" a #oman or a transsexual person $specific
protection is provided for pregnant employees or in
relation to maternity leave%.
Marital status: Single" married" separated" divorced or #ido#ed.
Family status: - parent of a person under /0 years or the resident
primary carer or a parent of a person #ith a disability.
orientation: 1ay" lesbian" bisexual or heterosexual. $The Court of 2ustice
in S3 held that discrimination against a transsexual
constituted discrimination on the grounds of sex.%
Religion: Different religious belief" bac!ground" outloo! or none.
Age: This applies to all ages above the maximum age at #hich a
person is statutorily obliged to attend school.
Disability: This is broadly defined including people #ith physical"
intellectual" learning" cognitive or emotional
disabilities and a range of medical conditions.
Race: - particular race" s!in colour" nationality or ethnic origin.
Being a member of the ra!elling "ommunity:
eople #ho are commonly called Travellers" #ho are identified both by Travellers
and others as people #ith a shared history" culture and traditions" identified
historically as a nomadic #ay of life on the island of Ireland.
.. Soci' E/c'usion nd Soci' Inc'usion
Social exclusion is a current term used to describe the fact that due to lac! of
resources people and #hole communities can be excluded from social 4 cultural
activities. educational opportunity. influencing decision ma!ing and benefiting
from economic gro#th. In addition" social exclusion can lead to isolation and
remoteness" po#erlessness" lac! of #orth#hile #or!" discrimination" poor access
to basic public services such as health and housing" day care" public transport"
legal supports and recreational facilities etc.
The opposite term is Social inclusion #hich aims to redress the damage done
by long term social exclusion. The Family Resource rogramme is one of the
1overnments strategies to create more social inclusion. It is funded under the
5ational Development lan.
0. Co--uni"1 d$!$'o)-$n" is 2ou" *o+3in# (o+ c4n#$
" "4+$$ '$!$'s5
0.1 A" )$+son' '$!$' in +$'"ion "o 2ui'din#5
• Self confidence
• S!ills development
• -dult educational opportunities
• ersonal development
• ersonal contribution to #hat goes on in your community
• Community +eadership
0.% A" co--uni"1 '$!$' "4+ou#45
• Developing specific interest groups such as #omen6s groups" lone parents"
youth groups or Traveller groups etc.
• 7or!ing through collective action by bringing people together to #or! for
change in their o#n community.
• *mpo#ering local ro(ects ) groups to lin! to those #ho are more central to
decision ma!ing
• Dra#ing resources" services and facilities and funding into an area.
• Creating a positive community self image
0., A" )u2'ic )o'ic1 '$!$' 215
• Influencing #ider policies and programmes in favour of the disadvantaged
• Creating a#areness of social change at local level
• +earning from local activity #here ne# and innovative #ays of responding to
community needs have been developed.
• Developing lin!s #ith other groups" agencies and organisations and forming
coalitions ) alliances that #ill #or! for change at local and regional level
• +obbying politicians and other local" regional and national policy ma!ing
Community development is a process of participatory democracy. This process
can focus on a #ide range of issues. employment" community care" housing"
play" youth #or! etc. but it #ill al#ays lin! to the three elements above.
6. A co--uni"1 d$!$'o)-$n" ))+oc4 "o "c3'$
6.1 C+$"in# #+$"$+ Soci' Inc'usion
8any people find it difficult to act and #or! for change in their lives because they
lac! resources" and feel disempo#ered by their situation.
There are many barriers #hen trying to participate in society. They may
• +ac! of self&confidence
• +ac! s!ills
• Feel isolation
• o#erlessness
• oor health
• +ac! of money
• Discrimination
• oor access to training or education
It is hard to change the #orld if day to day life is a struggle.
Community development see!s to begin to #or! #here people are at in their lives
and address their immediate needs to eliminate barriers to full participation in
community life. It offers practical support" resources and encouragement to
become involved.
6.% E((ici$nc1 nd $(($c"i!$n$ss
olicies" programmes and services #hich are intended to reduce disadvantage
are much more li!ely to be efficient and effective if those #ith direct experience of
the problems or those #ho live in communities affected by these problems are
involved in the design and implementation of solutions.
'ver many years the model of local Family Resource Centres has been
developed to include local people and to train them to pro(ect manage their o#n
community development activities.
- Company +imited by 1uarantee is established #ith a voluntary 9oard of
8anagement dra#n from the local community. - number of Sub&groups are
established for example - Finance Sub&1roup" - Staffing Sub&1roup. remises
are sought and staff recruited.

- Regional Support -gency is appointed to support and train the volunteers and
to #or! #ith the ro(ect as a #hole to ensure good practice and to give ongoing
advice. This relationship is one based on a partnership approach and there is a
code of practice available on ho# ro(ects and Frame#or! the Support -gency
can best #or! together.