Casting off the Shackles: the Future of Community Development

From Planet 235

by Russell Todd

Russell Todd argues that community development within Communities First changed to becoming increasingly about disciplining individuals’ behaviours so that they could conform to Welsh Government priorities, and offers readers inspiration for how they can collaborate in now-flourishing independent projects that enable grassroots social justice.

It is just over a year since Communities First ended, a programme that had been part of the Welsh Government policy ‘furniture’ since the very first Assembly term. The announcement of its demise brought uncertainty to some, but was cautiously welcomed by others, Communities First having long departed from its initial aims. As it fades to memory, for the first time in the devolved era community development is bereft of even modest levels of state sponsorship and support; is increasingly fragmented and unrepresented; and lacks any coherent strategic policy framework. But nonetheless there are grounds for optimism, with an emerging fabric of independent community organisations feeling liberated from managerial state regulation of community action.

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