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Introduction Our starting point in this chapter is a question: who are the leaders when we consider community work practice; and this is followed by a second important question: where are they? We argue that they are at all levels in our work. Every community worker provides a leadership role at some level and function of society and the organisation. Leadership as a subject and a focus is important in the challenging world of tackling poverty, of seeking social justice and of harnessing learning to effect change. We would argue that such a world of

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Theory into Practice

Written by community workers from diverse contexts, this highly accessible guide equips practitioners and students working in a range of community settings to make the best use of theory in their work. The book focuses on the hope, excitement and possibilities that contemporary theory brings to practice and is essential reading for all those concerned with social justice, inclusion and equality.

Drawing on voices from across the world, influential thinking, both old and new, is applied to the practice that underpins work with individuals, groups and communities. The book will inform and enhance practice for a wide range of students and professionals working in community contexts such as community development, adult education, youth work, community health and social work.

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much of our lives taking place online, opportunities and community spaces in which to connect have invariably reduced. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half of Americans (47 per cent) said they did not have meaningful in-person social interactions on a daily basis ( Cigna, 2018 ). Community work seeks to engage people where they are and, as practitioners who build our practice on relationships, traditionally built on the streets and in community venues, we need to consider how to use digital tools to expand our reach and support with communities, to

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We have sought in this book to introduce approaches and methods practitioners can use to show the impact of what they do. The book has focused on community workers, but the greatest challenge we face as practitioners lies in recognition of the profession in which we work, which concerns us collectively, not individually. Increasingly in times of austerity, it is the developmental work embracing community work that is easy to cut in the short term, as it often has a longitudinal impact rather than meeting goals in political timescales of a short number of years

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How to Gather Evidence

This book provides essential guidance for professionals and pre-qualifying students on how to gather and generate evidence of the impact of projects in the community.

Including case studies from diverse community settings, it provides easy to implement, practical ideas and examples of methods to demonstrate the impact of community work.

Considering not only evaluation, but also the complex processes of evidence gathering, it will help all those involved with work in the community to demonstrate the impact and value of their work. The book provides:

  • guidance for how to present different findings to different audiences;

  • methods for effectively demonstrating the value of your work;

  • how to demonstrate the scale, quality and significance of impact.

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175 TWELVE Challenges of municipal community work Witold Mandrysz, Marek Perlinski and Lars Evertsson Introduction Community work, in different forms, is a relatively common feature of social work in several European countries, although the concept itself was developed in Great Britain (Popple, 1995; Twelvetrees, 2008). Community work and social development aims to take advantage of citizens’ initiatives, preferences, abilities and often hidden and sometimes forgotten resources, in order to achieve social change improving the living conditions of groups

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Introduction Research is where communities, social groups and the issues they face are identified, defined and analysed and is thus of critical value in community work and youth work. In the context of these practices, ‘[r]esearch-based, theoretically developed and practice informed texts are necessary to the process of creating a discursive field in which the meanings, values and potential of youth work [and community work] as professional activity might be effectively communicated’ (Spence, 2007: 4). It is well established in this book and elsewhere that

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165 TEN Re-gilding the ghetto: community work and community development in 21st-century Britain Sarah Banks Introduction The theory and practice of community work is bedevilled by debates around terminology, identity and ideology – just as much as, if not more than, social work. The term ‘community’ (noun), while often dismissed as meaningless, nevertheless has much more substantive content than the term ‘social’ (adjective) as it occurs in ‘social work’. While ‘community’ tends to have a positive evaluative meaning (associated with warmth and caring

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development can be realised only with strong global partnerships and cooperation ( United Nations, 2022 ). Partnerships exist at the micro, meso and macro levels of community work, whether that is in a youth-work setting, delivering a programme with a local school or sports club, team managers coming together to respond to the adult learning needs across an area, or at a more strategic level with public and voluntary sector leaders, working with government and industry to develop innovative programmes of learning and training to promote employment and reduce poverty

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use to practitioners, as both are consistent with the values of community work (see Chapter 2 ). Also, in the case of action research, it has a developmental and change focus as well as one of inquiry. We can provide only an introduction to the two approaches here. Further reading is required if they are new to you and you decide to use them. Here we just hope to whet your appetite for research. Research in the community is frequently closely linked to community engagement (see Chapter 7 ), with needs assessment and consultation being important dimensions

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