Empowered Communities in the 2020: shaping the future of community development in the UK

Empowered Communities in the 2020s is an ambitious new project made possible by a major legacy donation from the Community Development Foundation, which would have celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. The project is about scoping and supporting the future of community development in the UK with a critical eye for what it needs to look like and who it needs to involve in order to be fit for the purpose of empowering communities in the 2020s.

To start the project, Local Trust and their partners at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have commissioned IVAR (the Institute for Voluntary Action Research) to carry out a research project to capture the contemporary value and future possibilities of working with communities to enable them to develop to their fullest potential.

The research aims to enable a conversation with a wide range of people, groups and organisations in the public, voluntary (including faith and community groups) and business sectors who support individuals and communities, build movements, and operate online and offline.

It will do this through three sets of Dialogues:

  • Dialogues #1 – Exploring policy contexts that intersect with community development and empowered communities, such as income inequality, local ageing populations, housing, immigration or climate change.
  • Dialogues #2 – Visiting the four countries in the UK to hear from people who work with communities regardless of whether or not they have a community development remit as such.
  • Dialogues #3 – Conversations in four communities of place, to hear from people who work with, or in some way support communities — regardless of whether or not they have a community development remit.

The research is led by Leila Baker. You can read more about it – and sign up to the Empowered Communities mailing list – on Leila’s blog.

You might also be interested in a blog post by Local Trust’s chief executive, Matt Leach, to see what the funders want to achieve through the research.

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