The document below is the council's first community development strategy.
If you have any comments you would like to make on the document then please write or email, before 16th June 2000, to Philip Jones, Community Development Officer, Forest of Dean District Council, Council Offices, High Street, Coleford. GL14 2DD.
Email: [email protected]
The Forest of Dean District Council has undertaken or facilitated a number of community development initiatives over the last ten years. In fact, the Council's mission statement reflects this ethos:
"To work with the community and all organisations in the Forest of Dean to ensure that the area is revitalised and the quality of life improved".
In order for the Council to focus clearly on its community development activities, and for the community to understand the Council's role, it is important to have a strategy. This document is intended to provide this strategic focus for community development activities.
In order to determine what needs to be achieved, it is important to know the starting point. Therefore, a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) was undertaken by the Community Support Group. This is a group of Officers from various departments involved in community development activities.
Their analysis is listed below.
There are a number of staff employed by the District Council who are involved in community development activities; these staff are either dedicated resources in the Strategy Directorate or out in other departments, e.g. Tenant Participation Officer, Arts & Sports Development Officer.
A total of 82 organisations have been grant aided, with a total budget of £336,000 (including Recreation and Leisure Grants and other funding to community projects) since 1st April 1999. A map showing the location of community buildings is attached at Annex A and a graph indicating the current grant distribution is shown at Annex B.
The Forest of Dean District Council is committed to championing the social well-being of the community. The District Council will work towards this by facilitating capacity building, helping to draw in funding and by working in partnership in an atmosphere of shared values and mutual respect, to directly support not for profit and community groups. Thus increasing peoples sense of belonging and improve the quality of life for those living in the district.
There is already a strong community in the area with an active not for profit sector. Partnership working is also a strong ethos in the community.
It is recognised, however, that there is much that can be done to capitalise on these strengths, particularly by accessing new funding streams and by better promotion of the current activities, projects and successful funding bids.
The Council takes a holistic or "joined up" view to service delivery and this helps in developing thriving local communities. The Council recognises the need to address issues of social inclusion, and the links that activities such as arts, housing, leisure, transport and community safety can have on providing social well-being.
Community development cannot be viewed in isolation but must be integrated into mainstream activities, so that all Officers are aware of the effects of their actions on the community. Best Value is encouraging greater participation and consultation and the community development strategy needs to harness these activities.
This is a first draft of the strategy which will need to be fully consulted upon with community groups, not for profit sector and other interested parties.
Following such consultation, key actions will be developed which will enable the strategy to be turned into action.
The strategy will be monitored by the Community Support Group, and on a yearly basis by the Voluntary and Community Development Working Group.
If the strategy is successful, then there must be key outcomes emerging. These will need to be measured and evaluated. There will be a need to develop baseline data against which to measure performance and as part of the action planning process, performance targets will be developed.
If you have any comments you would like to make on the document then please write or email, before 16th June 2000, to Philip Jones, Community Development Officer, Forest of Dean District Council, Council Offices, High Street, Coleford. GL14 2DD. Email: [email protected]