What is community development?

Community development is a process where people come together to take action on what’s important to them.

At its heart, community development is rooted in the belief that all people should have access to health, wellbeing, wealth, justice and opportunity. 

New! Community Development in 60 seconds (ish)

It recognises that some people, some groups and some communities are excluded and oppressed by the way society and structures are organised. Community development seeks to challenge this and ensure fairness for all citizens.

In practice, community development:

  • supports communities, of place and identity, to use their own assets to improve the quality of community life.
  • helps communities and public agencies to work together to improve services and the way in which decisions are made.

Community development is fundamentally based on the values of human rights, social justice, equality and respect for diversity.

The principles which underpin its practice are:

  • Self-determination – people and communities have the right to make their own choices and decisions.
  • Empowerment – people should be able to control and use their own assets and means to influence.
  • Collective action – coming together in groups or organisations strengthens peoples’ voices.
  • Working and learning together – collaboration and sharing experiences is vital to good community activity.