The value of Connected Communities

The UK’s Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has recently looked at a range of community activities and initiatives, (and specifically the Eden Project initiated Big Lunch) with a view to providing a better understanding of how better connected communities can impact on people’s lives.

The Eden Project is an educational charity with the objective of connecting people with each other and with the living world with a view to exploring how people can work together towards a better future. One of the Eden Project’s most significant and best known initiatives is the Big Lunch Programme, the UK’s annual get together for neighbours, which aims to bring people within neighbourhoods together to build stronger and better connected communities. Such initiatives are designed to unlock the value of the social capital that is available to us by connecting with others.

A summary of the research is available here.

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.

IACD Board approves global definition of Community Development

Following consultation with IACD members, presentation and finalisation of the draft text at the July 2016 Minnesota international conference, the IACD Board has approved a new Global Definition of Community Development.

Community development is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, economic opportunity, equality and social justice, through the organisation, education and empowerment of people within their communities, whether these be of locality, identity or interest, in urban and rural settings“.

Further information can be found on the IACD website.

Open Access: exploring the issues

How can – and how should – academic work be made freely available to a wider public audience?

In April 2016 the Editorial Board of the Community Development Journal invited UCC librarian Cathal Kerrigan to present on the background to “open access” within academic publishing, plus the strengths, limitations and ethical issues associated with various approaches to this.

Cathal has kindly filmed his presentation for wider public distribution. The video and slides can be seen below.

REPORT: The Changing Landscape of Local and Community Development in Ireland: Policy and Practice

tsrcThis is the report of a conference held in University College Cork, Ireland, in October 2015 to discuss research carried out by UCC researchers and the views of representatives from the wider voluntary and community sector on the impact of both austerity cuts and changes to central and local government funding on the sector.

With the onset of the economic crisis on 2008, a range of austerity measures introduced by Irish Government led to severe cuts in funding to the voluntary and community sector in Ireland.  Accompanying this was an on-going process of policy change since the late 1990s, linked to Government attempts to align the sector with central and local government priorities and agenda. The latter culminated in the passing of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, which attempted to bring the community and voluntary sector under greater local and central government control, and included the introduction of competitive tendering for service contracts established by the State, in place of grants for community sector organisations.

Issues raised by the research and discussed at the conference included the implications of such changes for collaboration and co-operation in the sector in an atmosphere of increased competition for resources, community development as a method of work, the independence of the sector, and notions of participative democracy and grassroots engagement.

A copy of the conference report is available here.


EVENT: Building Bridges: Mobilising communities in times of conflict

ukraine revolutionSeminar:
Experiences from the U

Thursday 23rd June 2016

University of Birmingham, UK

Oleksandr Pidhonyy
Nataliya Drozd
(Centre Dobrochyn, Chernihiv)

Seminar Room 710, Muirhead Tower
3.30pm – 5pm

This event is free to attend but places are limited. To book contact Angus McCabe:

Event supported by the Community Development Journal

New Editors for the Community Development Journal

Keith PoppleMae Shaw





We’re delighted to announce that in 2016 the Community Development Journal will be edited by veteran CDJ Board members Keith Popple and Mae Shaw.

In their first editorial – for Volume 51, Issue 2 of the journal, which is available now to subscribers – Keith and Mae thank outgoing Editor Mick Carpenter for his considerable contribution.

“We commence this, our first Editorial as CDJ Co-editors, by thanking our predecessor Professor Mick Carpenter for the excellent work he undertook over the last six years as Editor of the Journal. Editing a major international journal like the CDJ is a complex task, and our readers have greatly benefitted from Mick’s diligent, focused and strategic approach to the role. It is to his credit that the CDJ has become more influential in the field and remains the leading international community development journal and is in an excellent position to address the challenges of the future. Mick remains on the Editorial Board so we will all continue to benefit from his contribution to the Journal”

50 years of the Community Development Journal

CDJ logo50th Anniversary Edition of the Community Development Journal available for FREE until
14th February

For the past 50 years, since 1966, the Community Development Journal (CDJ) has been the foremost journal in its field and remains so today as recognised, among other things, by its current impact factor score of 1.174.


To celebrate this impressive record of publication Oxford University Press (OUP) are proud to publish the 50th Anniversary Issue edited by Mick Carpenter, Akwugo Emejulu and Marilyn Taylor: ‘What’s New and Old in Community Development?‘. The articles in different ways address the legacies of the past and community development’s continuing relevance to  present and future challenges. A central issue addressed is the extent to which neoliberal globalization has in the 21st Century narrowed the scope and possibilities for community development based on principles of social justice and collective change. The articles demonstrate that the potential to subvert neoliberalism remains, and assert the continuing significance of the state as a vehicle for progressive social change.
In addition to the Editorial Introduction by Mick Carpenter, Akwugo Emejulu and Akwugo Emejulu, there are stimulating articles by Marjorie Mayo, Sue Kenny, Akwugo Emejulu and Edward Scanlon, Peter Westoby and Kristen Lyons, Silla Marie March Sievers, Suyoung Kim, Jacob Lesniewski and Ransin Canon, and Jenny Harrow and Tobias Jung. In addition Martin Mowbray reviews Cynthia Cockburn’s Classic Text The Local State and Matthew Scott’s Review article reviews recent texts on wealth and inequality.


RESOURCES: CDJ 50th Anniversary Conference

DSCF0334We were delighted to welcome delegates to Edinburgh at the beginning of July for the CDJ 50th Anniversary Conference: Why Community Development? Continuity and Innovation.

In the spirit of widening participation, we will be gradually uploading resources from this event – including presentation slides, video and critical reflections –  to CDJ Plus in the coming weeks.

We’ve already got some initial materials up on our new dedicated page:
50th Anniversary Conference.

Please do keep checking back to see what else we’ve added!