Series: CASE Studies on Poverty, Place and Policy
Poverty is still a real issue within Britain today and this essential series provides evidence-based insights into how communities and families are dealing with it.
Published in conjunction with the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics, this series draws together fresh research and sheds important light on the impact of anti-poverty policy, focusing on the individual and social factors that promote regeneration, recovery and renewal.
CASE Studies on Poverty, Place and Policy
This chapter aims to show how the work of the groups contributes to dealing with social exclusion and neighbourhood decline. It examines how one understands the value the groups’ work has, what the groups actually do in practice, and whether one can create more social capital and citizenship using community self-help activity. The chapter determines that initially, the things the groups do seem like worthy activities, but that this perception drops compared to the scale of problems.
This chapter pinpoints some of the bigger issues connected with the problems identified in this book. Some of these issues are whether people still need ‘communities’ and why a focus on economic renewal is not an alternative. The chapter studies the reasons why neighbourhoods matter, and if it is patronising residents to talk of community self-help solutions. The role of community self-help is examined, along with the implications for strategies to engage and build communities. The chapter also looks at its significance to the national and local government, social landlords, other service providers, and residents in trying to create and maintain thriving neighbourhoods and communities.
How people can be persuaded to take more control of their own lives continues to be a subject of policy and academic debate, and the contribution of active citizens to improving societal well-being is high across different policy agendas. But the promotion of community self-help raises a wide range of questions - for people working in neighbourhoods, for policy makers, for politicians, and for residents themselves - about how we promote engagement, what would motivate people to become active, and more fundamentally about the ongoing relevance and value of community activity.
“DIY Community Action” offers thought-provoking answers to these questions, based on detailed real-life evidence from over 100 community groups, each trying to combat neighbourhood problems. It presents a lively challenge to the existing thinking on contested debates, and proposes ways forward for community building.
This timely publication is an engaging resource for policy makers, practitioners, academics, students and general readers interested in exploring community engagement and active citizenship. Its insightful analysis will be of interest to students of social policy, sociology, community work, housing and regeneration, local government studies and public policy.
This chapter discusses the internal workings of community organisations. It looks at how these informal associations organise themselves, how they develop internally in order to deliver activities and services, and what leadership models they have. Their organisational problems and the methods they use to create systems and procedures for their work are also examined. The chapter provides a discussion of what a ‘good’ community group looks like.
This introductory chapter looks at the activities people in low-income neighbourhoods are doing in order to improve the places where they live. It first discusses DIY community action, which is used interchangeably with ‘community self-help activity’. The chapter then studies the importance of neighbourhood conditions and the concepts of social capital and community engagement. It ends with a study of the structure of the book and the findings of the study.
This chapter studies the many barriers and obstacles that groups have to deal with, as well as the support they receive. It explores the limits of what groups can or want to do, and the potential to facilitate the work of the groups. The financial sustainability of the groups is also examined. The chapter furthermore discusses the range of external supports the groups receive, the kind of help they get and where it comes from, and what forms of support the groups value.
This chapter describes the Gatsby Project and its study areas and groups. It studies how the information was collected, and analyses the things the participants shared during the course of data gathering. The chapter also notes the biases the researchers and the groups might have, and how these were overcome.
This chapter talks about the triggers that generate citizen involvement and community self-help activity. It considers why some people go out of their way to take local action, and tries to determine what motivates community volunteers. The chapter examines their altruistic concerns, and decides if it is fair to expect those with the least advantages to do the most to compensate for others’ failures.
This chapter aims to determine whether people’s good intentions are enough. It looks at the legitimacy the community organisations have to act on behalf of other residents, and how they relate to the wider community. The chapter studies where they are located within the context of other forms of representation and local democracy. Finally, how the community organisations link in with wider bodies is shown.
This chapter examines the neighbourhoods in which the residents live and operate. It explores the aspects of community that affect the residents, most especially the management of homes and neighbourhoods by social landlords. The chapter also examines the communities as people, and several questions are considered and answered.