Definitions

Community

All the individual people who live and/or work in a local area affected. Community can mean a geographical community (focusing on a particular place) or a community of interest (focused on faith, age, interests etc). Most people belong to many communities, and most places includes many different communities, reflecting the tapestry of communal life at a local level.

A geographical area should not be seen as one homogenous community. There may be many communities in that particular area.

Community engagement

Involving the community in the redevelopment in their area, by giving them information, asking for their views, and in some cases giving them a direct say in decisions.

Community empowerment

We have used the department for Communities and Local Government’s definition of community empowerment: active citizens; strengthened communities; partnership with public bodies.

Community development

Activity that seeks to build the capacity of groups of people within the community to identify and work together to solve issues and problems themselves.

Community capacity building

Community capacity building includes a variety of activities, resources and support that strengthen the skills and abilities of people and community groups to take effective action and leading roles in the development of their communities.

It can include:

  • Developing skills: learning and training opportunities for individuals and groups, and sharing through networks and mutual support
  • Developing structures: including formal and informal structures and networks
  • Developing support: developing the availability of practical support for community representatives and groups.
Participation

Participation involves taking part in an activity, organisation or market, political and social structures. The term participation is often to be found with a number of prefixes, and can be categorised into three broad strands: public, social and individual participation, each interdependent and overlapping.

  • Public participation can be seen as engagement in the democratic structures of our polity on a vertical scale
  • Social participation is individual involvement in a collective association or endeavour, on a horizontal level such as through membership of a community group or tenants association
  • Individual participation; individual participation is a citizen’s or consumer’s actions and choices that they make in daily life, such as signing a petition or reporting graffiti.
Social capital

Social capital is a sociological concept which refers to the connections between individuals within a wider community, and the strengths of the social networks that form as a result of individuals’ relationships. Although there are many different interpretations, indicators of social capital commonly used include the quality of social relations, formal and informal networks, group membership, trust, mutual aid, and civic engagement.

Different forms of social capital have been identified:

  • Bonding social capital refers to the relationships between people from similar backgrounds (age, social class, ethnicity, religion etc)
  • Bridging social capital refers to relationships between people who are from different backgrounds.
Voluntary and Community Sector/Civil Society

This term encompasses a range of agencies that are driven primarily by social vales and that invest a significant amount of their profits to further their social or charitable objectives. It includes voluntary and community organisations, social enterprises, housing associations, charities, co-operatives and mutuals.

Co production

Co-production means fully involving residents and other stakeholders in the design and delivery of public services. The rationale is that if all involved (including the council and residents) give up some control over the process, then the result will be better than what would usually have emerged out of a more traditional engagement process.