Realising Community Development

Realising Community Development is a new service that enables a community to come together to support the development of individuals living or working in it to improve things for themselves, their loved ones or the community.

The RCD service is focussed on promoting enterprise in the very broadest sense of the word, by enabling people to develop their ‘readiness to undertake challenges’ or to act on their ‘spirit of daring’. The nature of the challenges undertaken will be defined by the individual service user and not by the project. In this way the project will start from where it’s users are at – rather than from any policy drivers or strategic plans. An RCD project aims to be fully responsive.

People supported by the RCD project maybe working on challenges that might include:

  • home ownership
  • debt management
  • freedom from fear and abuse
  • managing and overcoming addiction
  • employment and income generation
  • enterprise – self employment and entrepreneurship
  • seeking adventure and adrenaline
  • living inside the law
  • managing community based events and projects
  • improving health and well-being
  • establishing a social business

The service is provided and managed by a group of volunteers in the community, the RCD Panel, working in partnership with a lead project agency providing professional project management support.

The RCD Panel can manage one or more professional RCD coaches. Each RCD coach is trained to use client centred skills to support the personal growth and development of individual service users and to enable them to use resources, skills, expereince and services that already exist in the community to help them to meet their challenge.

RCD coaches help service users to:

  • develop detailed visions for their own challenge
  • establish well formed pathways and plans that they can follow to make progress
  • access sources of support that are already available in the community

RCD coaches also:

  • develop the capacity and understanding of support service providers so that they can engage successfully with individual service users
  • build comprehensive routes into accessing the full range of support services available
  • provide comprehensive performance data to the RCD panel and the ‘lead project agency’ to enable effective development of the project and reporting to funders.

RCD projects can be evolved from existing community enterprise projects or started from scratch. RCD coaches might include Neighbourhood Wardens with an Enterprise Specialism or Enterprise Coaches and Advisers already active in the community. RCD panels too maybe created from scratch or developed from pre-existing groups such as Neighbourhood Forums or Tenant Groups.

The role of the Lead Project Agency is to provide professional project management and secretariat support to the RCD panel. They take responsibility for financial management and administration of the project and will, where necessary, provide a vehicle for the employment and supervision of the RCD coaches. They are also responsible for monitoring the development of the project and promoting project achievements to relevant stakeholders.

If you are interested in learning more about the Realising Community Development and how it may be used in your community please use the comments box below to get in touch. I would also be delighted to hear your questions about how RCD might work in your community.

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