Skills for Neighbourhood Work - Community Development Alliance

Original Assumptions
Community workers’ practice was in one or two
2. High level of autonomy
3. No pressures to demonstrate effectiveness
An essential part of the capacity building ‘portfolio’.
“A strategic approach to capacity building needs to
be flexible enough to cope with local differences and
difficulties.” (‘Regenerating Neighbourhoods: A
Critical Look at the Role of Community Capacity
Building’, Sarah Banks & Felicity Shenton, Local
Economy, 2001, Vol. 16 no. 4, pp.286-298)
2. Neighbourhood work can respond to new demands,
and adjust to different kinds of community and
3. Neighbourhood work is part of community
development’s practice-theory
4. Neighbourhood work can connect communities
with policy-making
- Do policy-makers understand how
neighbourhoods work and how they need to be
- Can policy-makers respond to austerity
measures and cuts? ‘Sense of abandonment’
(‘Reality, Resources, Resilience: regeneration in a
recession’, Andy Milne & Derek Rankine,
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2013)
Skills Framework
 Aims to make the tasks of the practitioner explicit and
 Helps worker see, and respond to, the varying,
changing needs of a group
 Emphasises importance of planning in neighbourhood
 Encourages workers to stand back from day-to-day
practice – take stock
The Neighbourhood Work Process
 Entering the neighbourhood
 Getting to know the neighbourhood
 What next? Needs, goals and roles
 Making contacts and bringing people together
 Forming and building organisations
 Helping to clarify goals and priorities
 Keeping the organisation going
 Dealing with friends and enemies
 Leavings and endings
Choice of role
Not a once and for all choice
Choice will be determined primarily by the stages of
the neighbourhood work process
More active/ directive when helping a group form
Less active/ more non-directive when a
group is up and running or when a worker is
planning to stop working with a group
Channelling – strongly directive
Funnelling – considerably directive
Scanning – mildly directive
Worker as ‘encourager’, ‘guide’, ‘enabler’. Emphasis on providing
information and on questioning
Galvanising/ inspiring local people
Concluding thoughts
Neighbourhood work can be responsive to changing
contexts and issues, e.g:
- Conflict resolution
- Importance of communal cooperation (‘Together.
The rituals, pleasures and politics of cooperation’,
Richard Sennett, Yale University Press, 2012)
2. Continuing importance of the neighbourhood to local
people. And the importance to them of public services.
“ Working in neighbourhoods is often a mix of
activities outside institutional control. But
institutions, such as local authorities, still play a
crucial role in mobilising and responding to citizens
and harnessing their contributions.” (‘Working in
neighbourhoods, active citizenship and localism,’ Liz
Richardson, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2012)
Training and learning opportunities for local
Potential of community practice