Conclusion and celebration

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Prominent throughout this book has been social justice and the need to challenge neoliberalism. One takeaway thought is that we all need to be political. Being political is not easy and we do a disservice to our communities if we do not engage with theory and make the links. To support this work, we need community workers who are brave and politically engaged themselves. This is a profession that asks a lot of us. Our work is about identifying needs, co-designing programmes of learning, reducing barriers and addressing power imbalances. To understand why what we do matters, as community workers we need empathy, something which arguably cannot be taught. The work we do is complex and we are frequently asked to step outside our comfort zone and engage across differences. The work we do is demanding as we seek to engage with communities at times and in places that reduce the barriers for them; can be heart-breaking as we see the discrimination faced by the communities we serve and the trauma that they carry with them; it is sometimes risky and we often find ourselves working against the desired outcome of our employer or funder. But the work we do is rewarding and life changing for the communities we serve and for us as workers.

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