Community Development is a long–term value based process which aims to address imbalances in power and bring about change founded on social justice, equality and inclusion.

The process enables people to organise and work together to:

  • identify their own needs and aspirations
  • take action to exert influence on the decisions which affect their lives
  • improve the quality of their own lives, the communities in which they live and societies of which they are a part.

The Community Development process is underpinned by a set of values on which all practice is based. Community Development practitioners need to relate these values to their roles and actions. There are five key values that underpin all community development practice:

  • Equality and Anti-discrimination
  • Social Justice
  • Collective Action
  • Community Empowerment
  • Working and Learning Together

(Source: August 2009, National Occupational Standards for Community Development, Lifelong Learning Sector Skills Council and Federation for Community Development Learning)

CHEX views Community Development as a process of:

  • Promoting learning, knowledge, skills, confidence and the ability to act collectively.
  • Taking positive action to address inequalities in power, access and participation.
  • Strengthening organization, networking and leadership with and between communities.
  • Working for change through increased local democracy, participation and involvement in public affairs. Source: Community Health Exchange

Good community development is an intervention which helps people organize and respond to problems and needs which they share. It supports the establishment of strong communities which are knowledgeable, skilled, empowered, participative, self-sufficient, stable, organized and materially improved. Strong communities help improve the quality of life and the quality of government.

Source: Northern Ireland DHSS (in ‘Strengthening Communities’ by Stuart Hashagen)




1960’s:          World Events:

Kennedy Assassinated – Student Riots in Paris – Flower Power

– Vietnam War

Influences/Developments in C.D. and Health:

Community Development Projects in UK Inner Cities – Growth

of Women’s Health Movement

Local Events:



1970’s:          World Events:

UK joins EEC – Winter of Discontent – 3-day week

– Miners Strike

Influences/Developments in C.D. and Health:

Expansion of state-sponsored Community Work – Black Community Health Projects – First Community Health Projects in England and Northern Ireland – W.H.O. Declaration of Alma Ata – Gorbals Anti-Dampness Campaign

Local Events:



1980’s:          World Events:

Thatcherism – Reagan Years – Cold War escalation (Star Wars)

Influences/Developments in C.D. and Health:

Black Report – Health Divide – First Community Health Projects

in Scotland – Disability Rights Movement – ‘New Public Health’

– Healthy Cities Projects – UK Health For All

Local Events:



1990’s:          World Events:

End of Soviet Union and Communist Bloc – Berlin Wall comes

down – end of Apartheid in South Africa – End of Thatcherism

– rise of New Labour – Devolution – first Scottish Parliament for

300 years

Influences/Developments in C.D. and Health:

Development of user/advocacy movements – expansion of Community Health Projects in Scotland – development of networking around C.D. and Health (Community Development and Health Network in Northern Ireland + CHEX in Scotland)

– Acheson Report – Inequalities/Social Inclusion agenda becomes established

Local Events:


2000’s:          World Events:

Al Qaeda attacks World Trade Centre in the USA - US and UK invade Afghanistan to root out Al Qaeda - Euro adopted as new currency in 12 EU countries – Tsunami devastates Asia

– Power Sharing Government established in Northern Ireland

– USA elects first black president – Polar Bear designated as endangered species – BNP wins seats in European Parliament

Influences/Developments in C.D. and Health:

Community-led health gains prominence – National Standards for Community Engagement published – Network of Healthy Living Centers established – NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) produces guidance for NHS on community engagement - HIIC celebrates 100th accredited course.

Local Events:



2010’s          World Events

                        Rise of ISIS Middle East – Paris Terrorist Attacks – Scotland votes against independence- UK votes to                                  leave European Union – Europe faces migrant crisis.

 Influences/Developments in C.D. and Health:

                              Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act introduced – Integration of Health and Social Care – Public Service                            Reform: promotion of coproduction in service delivery – HIIC launches as an online resource.


Dimensions of Community Development




“Community Empowerment is a process where people work together to make change happen in their communities by having more power and influence over what matters to them.” This is the definition agreed by CoSLA and the Scottish Government in the ‘Scottish Community Empowerment Action Plan – Celebrating Success: Inspiring Change’, ISBN: 978-0-7559-8012-3, Crown copyright 2009.

Along the bottom of the ABCD pyramid are the 4 dimensions of community empowerment which must be built into any community development activity, whether with groups of interest/identity or with geographical communities.

Possible means of identifying whether these dimensions exist within a piece of community work are outlined below:

  • Personal Empowerment

Evidence of an increase in individual learning, knowledge, confidence and skill.

  • Positive Action

Evidence of specific work to identify and involve groups excluded by poverty, health, race, gender or disability and to challenge established power structures.

  • Community Organisation

General activity in the community, the range, quality and effectiveness of community based groups and organizations, and the nature and quality of their relationships with each other and the wider world.

  • Participation and Influence

Evidence of influence over the policy and practice of agencies working in the community through which change in the circumstances of community life are achieved.



Tea in the Pot is a Drop-in & Support Service for women, and is run by women, for women.
We provide a safe relaxing atmosphere where women can meet up with old friends and make new friends.
We aim to support women to become actively engaged in their community; we want to enable women to identify and value their skills, experiences and talents - and to feel empowered and confident to share these with others.
Drop in for as little time as you wish - or stay for the whole day.
You may be coping with difficulties, or just feel under stress, or have health issues, or simply feel isolated with no one to talk to... You are more than welcome to join us - we've all been there!

Tea in the Pot was the result of an Oxfam-sponsored Regender workshop in 2004 and out of that a small group of women put out 400 questionnaires to the local people about what was needed in the area, and 158 were in favour of a women’s only drop-in.
Tea in the Pot today is run by volunteers, semi-skilled, skilled, professional women, who all have walked through the door of Tea in the Pot for their own particular reasons, and stayed to help others.
We are that empty space for women between no man’s land; the step before professional help, or a place to go where there is no professional help. We are the arms and ears of comfort and compassion; we encourage and empower our women to rise above their troubles; empower them to say no to whoever or whatever; Tea in the Pot enables them to give confidence to other women and share their skills with others.
Tea in the Pot is a room full of stories of humour, pain, and injustice. Women who have suffered, like all women all over the world, emotional and physical abuse, just because they ARE women. A room of healers, magic potions, counselling skills and techniques. No matter what culture, background, we are here for all women; we are whatever walks through our door.

WE ARE “TEA in the POT”

Website:          www.teainthepot.org.uk

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/TEA-in-the-POT-243699082309377/?fref=ts

Email:                          teainthepot@yahoo.co.uk


Just Like Us: Milton Glasgow

Just Like Us grew from the experience of its founder members, Loraine Buchanan and Gerry Murphy, who both lost people close to them through alcohol or drug addiction. They speak of watching people who, although in touch with many professional services, never seemed to be provided with the support that they needed.

“Some professionals want to help people by telling them what to do, without fully understanding the root causes or the process of change.”

Gerry, a qualified counsellor, realised that he needed insight into his own approach to life and feels that without it, he like many other professionals was not well placed to guide others through a process of change. He feels that the “power of example” is crucial to this role and that

“Professionals want to help people by telling them what to do without looking at themselves. Our lived experience means that we have an increased empathy and understanding which means we can better support others with similar issues.”

Just Like Us became connected with Colston Parish Church which provided them with a meeting room where they could provide a drop in service. Their first drop attracted eight people. From that numbers attending grew and it was found that a two hour session was not enough to allow people to work through the breadth and depth of life’s challenges so they developed worksheets people could take away to work through in time away from the group setting. The sheets were developed around common themes, such as Overcoming Barriers, Thinking Patterns and Understanding Addictions.

Lorraine and Gerry are very clear that the work they do is not simply peer-led support with a model of weekly drop in work and no follow up. Both of them spoke of providing support 24/7 by being available at the end of a phone; for conversations in the street; at home or in the shops- wherever people find them. Those they support know they will not be turned away and that support and an active listener is theirs for the asking.

A visitor to the group at their drop in will find group members willing to share their deepest most personal stories of life before and since joining the group. They speak of people who have been on methadone and a cocktail of prescription drugs to deal with their addictions and mental health issues for more than a decade. People in these circumstances come to the group and “relatively quickly” work through deep seated personal issues to become ultimately and sustainably drug free.

One group member states

“I don’t see myself as “being in recovery”. My “recovery” is in the past, I recovered. Now I am living.”

The group has grown and developed over the years adapting its methodologies and resources according to the results they have and the feedback received from members.

Although originally set up as to support people in the local community of Milton, members of the group now come from far and wide as word has spread of the results they can achieve. On a typical day the group welcome people not only from Milton but also the West End of Glasgow, areas south of the Clyde and further afield.

Adapted from: More Communities at the Centre- Evidencing Community – Led Health: CHEX: 2016


Stepping Stones:  Clydebank: West Dunbartonshire


West Dunbartonshire an area has suffered significantly due to post-industrial decline and consequently faces real challenges in terms of peoples sense of identity individually and as a community. Compared to the Scottish average, the area has high rates of suicide, substance abuse, depression and other mental health issues.

Stepping Stones is an organisation whose origins in the 1990’s saw a group of concerned people come together in a local manse in Clydebank to discuss the mental health support needs of people in the town. The organisation’s approach to their mission is described by their Service Manager, John White, as “focusing on recovery, resilience and peer support with an approach that utilises both personal and community assets.”

Stepping Stones employs seven members of staff, has 15 volunteers and supports more than 650 people every year. Referrals in the last year rose by 22% to 780. Its Board of five volunteer Directors are all former members who have used Stepping Stones support services themselves. They direct the work of the organisation that now covers the whole of West Dunbartonshire from the Glasgow boundary to the shores of Loch Lomond.

“Through helping people to help themselves and others, we will work together to ensure that people with a mental health issue are accepting and accepted, so that positive mental health and wellbeing becomes a way of life in West Dunbartonshire.”

Extract from Stepping Stones Mission statement

The organisation provides a range of individual and group work activities tailored to the needs of those who are struggling to maintain good mental health. Interventions include working with individuals and groups to develop their own WRAP – Wellness Recovery Action Plan and referring people into an array of valuable activities such as the cinema group, sewing and jewellery groups and a peer-led lifelong learning Group.

 Former members of Stepping Stones are encouraged to build on their own improving mental health and wellbeing by supporting others.  This promotes a sense of community and responsibility. They are supported to take on new roles as “peer supporters’ or volunteer in complementary therapies or group work support. This allows members to “give bac” to benefit future members.

“People who have been through it before you help you to see that anything is possible when you thought nothing was possible – it’s the light at the end of the tunnel”

Stepping Stones member

One member of staff reflect on how Stepping Stones has developed its ways of working

“We’ve learned over the years. In the past people could come to groups, maybe even for years. Now we try to help people to move on, it’s a more constructive process.”

The success of Stepping Stones is reflected by a former Community Psychiatric Nurse who speaks of how statutory sector services have been realigned in recognition of Stepping Stones group work. The local mental health resource centre no longer offers group work since this was seen as “needless duplication… since it was being done a t Stepping Stones in a more appropriate and effective way.”

Adapted from: Communities at the Centre- Evidencing Community – Led Health: CHEX: 2013



PAGES (Parent’s Advisory Group for Education and Socialisation): Aberdeenshire

 Health statistics for Grampian compare favourably to Scottish averages however health inequalities still exist – a recent report, February 2013, identified 10,000 children in Aberdeenshire as being in need of additional leaning support.

PAGES is a group of parents whose children have additional support needs.

“Statutory services take so long to respond. You get a diagnosis when your child is 8 and the service is still not there when your child leaves secondary education”

Parent and member of PAGES Board of Trustees

Beginning with one parent who, having found no other available service, travelled across Aberdeenshire looking for a site from which to provide services for her child. She discovered a former school house hosting an indoor bowling group and Woman’s Rural Institute group. The building itself had become “dark, dank, dull and dismal” but today is bursting with life and colour and is the much used resource that Esslemont School has become. Flourishing under the influence of PAGES and a range of other groups including: The Rainbow Rogues, Esslemont WRI, Esslemont Bowlers, Aberdeenshire Disability Sports, National Autistic Society Eilon Branch, Eilon Resource Centre and Childcare@home.

The school provides PAGES with a base from which to provide a wide range of activities for both children with additional support needs and for their parents. The Monday Nighters social group includes craft activities, outings to local places of interest as well as cooking and baking activity. Six week taster sessions have included climbing, dram, football, archery and Tai Kwan Do, to name but a few.

The impact of the work PAGES has undertaken is not to be underestimated. Parents are provided with support from those who fully understand their plight when a child is newly “diagnosed”. That support continues as their child grows and their needs change. For the child –

“Being accepted into a group is massive for some of our young people. You can see the change from the first time they come and don’t take part very much but we just work at their pace and later they are joining in and helping others. They build strong friendships and bond with the others in the group." - A parent

PAGES is well respected for the work it does and the services it delivers, reflected in its relationships with other organisations sharing the premises and partnership relationships with the local authority. The whole process has challenged the inequality in services which were found lacking in the first instance. The health and wellbeing of both children and parents has benefited from the work of this group. Given all that PAGES undertakes and achieves in a year, PAGES operates on a relatively small budget of £6,000, illustrating the significant difference that can be made for not a huge amount of money.

Adapted from: Communities at the Centre- Evidencing Community – Led Health: CHEX: 2013



1. What I got out of today’s session.

(Interesting information, anything new learned, enjoyed the session etc)


2. Things I would like to know more about.

(Questions I have in my mind. Things I don’t quite understand.)


3. What I put into today’s session.

(How I feel I contributed - listening well, supporting, offering my views etc.)


4. Community Development and Health

 Can you list the 4 dimensions of community empowerment and for 2 of them can you give examples of these in practice.


Dimensions of community empowerment


Example 1



Example 2