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By becoming a member of SSEC you add your voice to a diverse membership that contributes towards national policy and helps shape the future of community development.

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What community development isn't about

  • It isn't just for community development workers.  Anyone can perform in a community development role if they are given the training, resources and support to work with communities on the communities' own priorities from the start
  • It isn't a "quick fix".  Community development is a long-term process, focusing on people and their needs and aims.  This long-term approach is essential to ensure changes are sustainable and long-lasting.
  • It isn't a "numbers game".  If five people turn up to a public meeting, these are the five people that the work starts with and grows from.
  • It isn't a euphemism for "Partnership working". Community development is the activity which enables many people to get to the partnership table in the first place.  It is the way of working which challenges unrepresentative voices: talking with three 'community representatives' is not representative of the needs of the wider community if the representatives are not accountable to the communities and delegated to express the collective views of these communities.  Community development enables many more voices to be heard and ensures they represent the diversity of opinions.
  • It isn't merely "Consultation". Community development is much more than consulting on decisions already made. It is about residents exploring their own needs and seeking the services which meet their differing needs.
  • It isn't "Tokenism".  It won't provide the answer to all problems, such as a cheap way of providing services, demonstrating management efficiency or validating funding bids.
  • It isn't just "Volunteering". Volunteering does bring many benefits, including the opportunities to develop teamwork, community spirit and personal growth.  But many people become involved in voluntary community activity because they cannot get the service they want, and have to provide it themselves.  It is not necessarily because they want to be volunteers.
  •  It isn't the same as "Community Engagement".  Community engagement is generally initiated by agencies or people in positions of power to seek community involvement in planning and reviewing services or engaging in democratic life.  It can be empowering if it leads to communities having an effective say in service provision or political decisions. It will also benefit from community development which builds the road of organised groups which others may find useful to reach people. However community development isn't merely a tool for community engagement; it starts from communities' own concerns.  Community development helps communities reach out to agencies and other influential people when the issues require their involvement.  Community development helps communities to develop clear ideas about what they want to say and the changes they are seeking from others, and then to consider which forums and networks will help them pursue their interests through their collective voices.