Five ways to strengthen your community
A strong community is a benefit to everyone but it doesn’t just happen overnight. What does it take to create a strong community? Below we discuss five ways to strengthening the community.
Bringing people together
This isn’t just about things such as community events, festivals and activities to encourage people to come together. It’s about making sure that mechanisms are in place to bring all elements of the community together – residents, Councillors, community leaders, schools, police – to work together for everyone’s benefit and to offer a collective voice. A representative community forum or local assembly, for example.
Resident involvement at every level
A strong community will be resident-led, with residents involved in decision-making and taking up places on boards and committees. It helps if there is a strong voluntary sector presence as it is easier to get more local people involved in volunteering and local projects through local charities and community groups.
Get everyone involved
Many communities suffer from having the same old faces turning up to everything and making all the decisions, and they’re often not representative of the community as a whole. The trick is to try and get people from all ages and backgrounds involved in what’s going on, then they’ll be more likely to feel part of things. If certain groups are less involved, think of what kinds of activities you could put on to attract them.
Tackle barriers to participation
Linked to the previous point, some people might be less involved because there are factors preventing them from participating. For example, transport issues or childcare concerns, or there could be financial issues or even cultural barriers. You will first need to find out what these might be and then work out how best to overcome them.
Key to a strong community is good lines of communication. You want to make sure that everyone knows what’s happening and how they can get involved if they want to. This will usually involve planning and developing a strategy that accounts for the various ways people receive information e.g. social media, local newsletter, community noticeboards, word of mouth, etc.