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This chapter looks at advanced community work practice, defined as community work activities within wider approaches to resolving the sociopolitical complexities of communities scarred by long-term division, hostility, conflict and oppression. The chapter draws on the experiences of people involved in peacebuilding in Northern Ireland and in anti-discriminatory community cohesion activities. The chapter invites White community workers to begin to decolonise their practice and consider the privileges they enjoy due to being white in comparison to people of colour.

The chapter also looks at the role of community work within community economic development and in particular the development and support of different forms of social enterprise. Lastly, it introduces some contemporary economic concepts, such as the foundational economy, which are potentially sympathetic and complementary to community work.

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This chapter by the late Neil Jameson provides an overview of broad-based organising, or community organising, in the UK, including the origins of the concept that Jameson and Alan Twelvetrees first encountered in the US. The chapter provides an account of the formation and development of Citizens UK and the methodology that individual Citizens groups and organisers employ: from how they identify a campaign to undertake, to how they build alliances around that issue with other organisations and interest groups. Jameson provides several examples of local and national successes that broad-based organisation have achieved. The chapter also explains how learning is at the heart of all that Citizens UK does with an emphasis on praxis and experiential learning.

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The book is a thorough exploration of practical aspects of community work and the related practices of social action and social planning. It is primarily for trainee and new community workers. Drawing on some of the best writers and thinkers in community work and community development, including Paulo Freire, Alison Gilchrist, Marilyn Taylor, Saul Alinsky, Jack Rothman, Margaret Ledwith and Gabriel Chanan, the book explores the theories that underpin community work. It sees community development, social action and social planning as the three main approaches for bringing about change in society. At the heart of all of these approaches is the community worker – working alone or as part of a team, and part of wider networks. The book helps the community worker consider their own development and self-care within the wider context of their work, which no doubt invites scrutiny from political figures, funders, managers and the community itself as well as bringing challenges in terms of knowing whether one is making a difference or not. The authors add a plethora of anecdotes and recollections from their own practice to help illustrate specific points and ideas. These also show the range of emotions that are encountered when working in a community.

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A Practical Guide

The sixth, fully updated edition of this bestselling guide links the theory and practice of community work in an insightful and relatable read for students and practitioners alike. With an accessible style, experienced author Alan Twelvetrees sets out the realities of practice in everyday community development (CD) work.

With a much-expanded section on specialist community work, the guide also features brand new sections on work in health, housing, with children, young people and those with disabilities and the changing role of IT, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic. This edition features:

• clear ‘how to’ guides for a variety of CD-related practice;

• case studies;

• end of chapter discussion points;

• signposts to digital resources;

• glossary.

This classic text provides a comprehensive overview of the knowledge required to work in community practice in the UK and is essential for anyone studying or working in the field.

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This chapter draws out some overarching conclusions in relation to the principal role of most community workers, which is to enable. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic touched almost every aspect of our lives, but for all the disruption and trauma that it caused, it also reinvigorated calls for radical ideas such as universal basic income and a shorter working week. The chapter considers what impact these might have on community work and the community worker. Also, if automation and artificial intelligence will, as predicted, play a bigger role in the in the economy and labour market, the chapter asks to what extent community work – a ‘high-touch’ rather than high-tech practice – might remain relatively unimpacted. The chapter also draws on other social work disciplines in calling for greater awareness of the impact of trauma on people’s lives and their behaviours and decision making.

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This chapter introduces the concepts of community development and social planning as a continuum, rather than as separate or contrasting concepts. It then explores some of the other practical aspects of community work within this construct of a continuum such as working alone through to working as a networked practitioner; or supporting expressive groups through to instrumental groups. In truth, one is seldom static on the continuum, at least not for long, and can even operate at different points on the continuum depending on the nature of the work in which one is engaged and the groups involved.

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This chapter explores evaluation of community work. It explains the importance of evaluation in measuring the growth and work of community groups. It also explores the practice of evaluation, including setting outcomes and objectives as part of an evaluation framework, and it introduces several methods to gather data for use in evaluation.

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The chapter provides practical guidance for community workers, principally those operating alone in small urban communities, on forming new community groups and supporting new and existing community groups. It explores the different functions of community groups and offers practical advice for helping groups develop their focus and priorities and lay the groundwork for taking action. Throughout the chapter, attention is paid to how community workers manage their role in relation to groups, including how they might avoid becoming a leader, directly or indirectly, of a group.

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This chapter looks at some of the ideologies have influenced community work over the decades. The radical tradition, and the role with this of socialist and feminist principles, is discussed. A critique of this tradition and oppositional approaches is provided. The chapter then considers different strategies for influencing others. It looks first at the Freireian tradition and then at the work of Harry Specht, who set out the strategies of collaboration, campaigning and contesting. The chapter ends with some tips on negotiation and a reminder to build enjoyment into whatever tactics are used.

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The introduction covers the dual model of community work, comprising generic and specialist approaches. It describes the relevance of Jack Rothman’s seminal work for the organisation of this edition. It also encourages community workers to remain attentive to the need for cultural responsiveness and be aware of the multiple inequalities that affect communities. Finally, it sets out the structure of the book.

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