community development

Community Development

A Community can be defined as a group of people who don’t just live in the
same area, but also share the same interests, experiences and often concerns
about the area in which they live. Often when individuals have lived in a street
or area for a while they become familiar with each other and the issues
surrounding them. Children often attend the same schools and in many cases grow
up together, again sharing the similar experiences. In some instances adults may
work together, and quite commonly all community members will share the same
doctors, dentists, hospitals, health visitors and other public services and
facilities.

Frequently however, issues arise amongst a community that need attention. In
this essay I will outline and discuss some of these issues and the
interventions, projects or programmes designed and used to tackle and combat
them. The three models of intervention or, ‘Community Development’, I will
discuss in this essay, ‘Social Planning’, ‘Community Development’, and.
‘Social/Community Action’, all have the same aim regardless of how it is
accomplished and this is to improve and maintain the conditions which affect the
lives of the community.

‘Social Planning’, is a model of development which can be described as,
‘Doing For’, the community. If it is perceived by government bodies that a
community has sunk so low that is unable to be resolved by using alternative
methods, (some of which will be discussed later in this essay), the government
will intervene with methods deemed necessary. Initially a profile of a community
will be drawn up using research methods, surveys and statistics that will
highlight the issues faced by the community. Then a plan to tackle these issues
will be decided upon and put into action.

‘SureStart’, is a Social Planning initiative, which came into force as a
government reaction to the levels of deprivation in Cornwall. Of the six
districts in the County Penwith came the highest, of the 60,000 population,
26,000 are aged 4 and under, 13% of households are lone parent households and
19% of the 201 lone parents are unemployed.

The ‘Treneere’, area of Penzance showing as the highest area of
deprivation, 13% are unemployed, 46% are in receipt of income support and 16.8%
of adults are illiterate. During 1998 there were a total of 235 children
referred to social services 98 of which were aged 0-4 years old. With regard to
education, of the children attending the infant and primary schools in the area
33.4% are entitled to free school meals, the average in the county being 15.4%.
54% of the pupils between the two schools are registered with special
educational needs. Of the 244 primary schools in Cornwall the two schools ranked
1s and 4th in the deprivation rank. Along with these figures strong evidence
shows high levels of violence, high levels of riotism, high levels of drug abuse
and a complete absence of community facilities.

Figures taken from the ‘SureStart Trailblazer’, proposal

As with all Social Planning the government specifies a time limit to achieve
the projects aims, goals and ultimately to improve living conditions. The ‘SureStart’,
project has a specified time limit of 2 years, in this time limit the project
aims to achieve the following: -

- Improve social and emotional development

- Reduce the number of primary school exclusions

- Cut by 10% the number of children on the child abuse register

- Reduce the number of post-natal depression

- 5% reduction in the number of low weight birth babies

- 10% reduction in children admitted to hospital with gastroenteritis,
respiratory problems and severe injuries

- 90% of children to reach normal speech and language milestones by 18 months
and 3 years

- 100% under 4’s are to have good quality play and learning facilities

- 75% of families are to report they have had an improvement in the services
provided by 2002

- Parent representation on the local board

- Juveniles are to have less contact with the criminal justice system

- Drug related crime on the decrease

- 16 – 19 year olds involved with economic activity i.e. Training or work

- Decrease in young people smoking

- Decrease in teenage pregnancies

- Finally long term outcomes.

Although the project was initiated by the government agencies the problems
were identified by government agencies, police and the Treneere residents and
Community Association the project has tried to look at the problems and the aims
from the point of view of the residents. The delivery of the projects intentions
will com from local representatives, voluntary organisations, church
representatives, health care providers, social services, education officials,
the police, the district council and housing association, the probation service
and the