Resilient and empowered communities

In February, Welsh Government announced that it will develop a new approach to building Resilient Communities to begin in April 2017 as Communities First ends. The new approach will aim to tackle the root causes of poverty and the programme will focus on three elements – early years, employment and empowerment. WCVA has produced a discussion paper to stimulate thinking about resilient communities and involve the third sector in thinking about what the new approach should look like. Based on this, it will present a third sector positioning paper to the Welsh Government in October.

We’ve summarised the main points of the paper below and you can read the full document on the WCVA’s website. We want to make sure that the views of social businesses are represented and would welcome input and stories about your experiences. We’d like to hear your thoughts on what the new approach to building resilient communities should focus on. We’d also like to hear your examples of work that your social businesses does with communities throughout Wales to tackle poverty. To give us your views, you can either complete our quick survey or email us by 4th September.

What do we mean by resilience and how should this inform the new approach?

Welsh Government has stated that it wants the new approach to focus on building “resilient communities” that are empowered and engaged, ready and able to work and that can offer children the best start in life.

Resilience usually refers to the capacity to cope with shocks and setbacks. For communities, it can mean the ability to harness resources and expertise to help themselves in a crisis. The WCVA paper asks whether the concept should be broader than this and what it should include.

  • What should resilience mean in terms of communities? Is it about the capacity to responds to crises or developing strengths to tackle long term problems? How should the Welsh Government define resilience?
  • What kind of activities help to build resilience in communities? What kind of activities should be included in the new approach?
  • How do social businesses support the development of resilient communities? Can you give us an example from your work?

How do we empower communities and make sure that everyone is included?

Models that help build resilience within a community involve empowerment. The discussion paper makes the case that for empowerment to happen, involvement needs to go further than encouraging local leaders and should reflect the diversity of communities by ensuring different groups are involved.

  • What kind of activities help to empower communities? What kind of activities hamper this?
  • How have social businesses contributed to more empowered communities?
  • Do you have examples of empowered communities? Are there examples of leadership approaches in communities that have been successful in involving diverse groups of people?

How should success be measured?

It is important to know if work being done with communities is making a difference. It is also important to be clear about who we are measuring success for and why. Community members, community activists, paid staff, funders, service providers and policy makers may all have different objectives and indicators of success, and in capturing the impact of work we have to prioritise and balance these competing needs.

  • Do you have examples of how change has been measured? How have these balanced the priorities of policy, funding and community?
  • How can communities best identify and measure success?

To find out more about how the discussion document was produced, please see the WCVA website. We’ll update this blog site with our response to the consultation and to let you know about any developments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *