Tuesday, 8 May 2018

What is community building?


Community has many different meanings, and it depends on who you ask! If you work for the council... operate a charity or host a social or sports group... or you're a local resident in the area then community will mean very different things.

Community is it about belonging to something?


For many being in a community brings along with it a sense of belonging. In today's society it seems that the need to belong to something is a real human need. Why we need this "belonging" is a good question, and although interesting this isn't the subject of this post.

Community as a general explanation of everything that makes up our society


The word "community" is often used to express the meaning of our society in general and everything that makes up the complex environment that we live.

Community as in "a small group of people with similar thinking"


This is the most interesting use of the word community. A community of this type can be any size... people who are playing sport, working together, meeting up to undertake some art and craft or leisure pursuit, churches, charities and those volunteering as small groups. Each represents a small community of people focused on doing something, participating, and taking action.

This is the grass roots of our 'general community' discussed above. The coming together of small groups of people. Individuals can be and often are involved in a many communities, as we all over time develop a keen interest in many topics.

These 'communities' involve people who typically live close to each other, they meet often, and they attract to them those with common thinking. But.... they rarely have money to advertise or promote themselves... so how do you find out about these communities?

Community Building


How great would it be if we could somehow bring together all these groups (both physical and online) together to help promote and share all the good work going on, so that more people could find them, engage and hopefully join in.

This is one of the key functions that Link4Growth SWHerts is providing. By creating an integrated platform that all community information can be placed on and enable local community groups and people (local residents) to engage (as well as businesses).  This is an open service where people can add content themselves and through this we are able to create an independent inclusive community space that covers the following...

  1. Local stories of great things happening in our 'communities' and about local groups (small communities of people) that are doing great work
  2. Local community noticeboards for all the towns that make up the SW Herts District
  3. Local meetups to enable local people to come together and find out what is happening in our communities, get signposted or connected and make new friends
  4. A place for local independent business owners to get to know one another (through the Business Development Network) and to support each other so that we can all win
  5. Local business noticeboards for our Business Development Network members to share what is happening in their businesses
  6. A series of Public Town calendars that can be updated by anyone wishing to share events happening in their community
  7. Specialised calendars such as SWHerts - Networking which contains many of the local networking events being hosted in the area
  8. Local TV Station (YouTube) with channels (Playlists) for Community, Local Business, Events, Entertainment, History... and a channel for each town too.


Conclusion


This isn't about trying to encourage us to 'build the community at large' that of course is already there, and, as big as it needs to be. Community building is more about enabling more people to 'join in' with things that are happening in the small community groups that exist or indeed starting new ones. To do that we need to have a place to find out what is going on.

There are already people doing amazing work and there is so much going on. If more people could tap into the plethora of things happening around us, it is likely, through that visibility people would find something that interests them enough to engage. That's community building! ... joining up the dots, increasing visibility and encouraging more people to engage.

If this could be accelerated locally, regionally and nationally... with all that sharing and cross fertilization of ideas... what would that look like?