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Dublin City Council's Neighbourhood Revitalisation Strategy 2008-2011. Developed with the support of Nurture Development, using ABCD approaches very well. This strategy was unanimously approved by …

Dublin City Council's Neighbourhood Revitalisation Strategy 2008-2011. Developed with the support of Nurture Development, using ABCD approaches very well. This strategy was unanimously approved by elected representatives across the city of Dublin and now informed both in policy and practice how the city engage in community development. Core staff have been trained in the ABCD approach by Cormac Russell.

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  • 1. Dublin City Council Community Development Section Community and Neighbourhood Development Strategy 2008-2012
  • 2. Dublin City Council Community Development Section Community and Neighbourhood Development Strategy 2008-2012 September ‘08
  • 3. Forward This Community and Neighbourhood Development strategy comes at a defining moment in the development of the City region, a time of great change and great opportunity for communities and neighbourhoods. Building on the vast experience of the Council’s Community Development Section, it charts an ambitious yet practical road map for supporting neighbourhoods to collectively face these challenges; and seize on the opportunities to come. The strategy rightly emphasises the importance of civic engagement; the participation of ordinary people, which is fundamental to building a civic society. This strategy ultimately will result in very ordinary, practical moments of civic engagement and participation which in turn will translate into greater social capital, social inclusion, and neighbourhood revitalisation. We will see more Neighbourhood Forums, Community Gardens, and street parties: tangible outcomes that make for better Neighbourhoods and a better City. The real measure of the success of this strategy, then, will be in its ability to counter growing levels of isolation (social exclusion) and increase genuine gestures of neighbourliness that give people a sense of belonging and inspire active citizenship and civic engagement and Dublin City Council’s Community Development section have a very important role to play towards this end. John Tierney, City Manager, Dublin City Council Sept. 08
  • 4. Dublin City Council Community Development Section Community and Neighbourhood Development Strategy 2008-2012
  • 5. CONTENTS Introduction pg 1 Context pg 3 Overall aim and Objectives pg 5 Neighbourhood Revitalisation pg 6 Citizen Engagement pg 7 Social inclusion and Community Development pg 9 Community Developments role with other agerncies pg 10 Linking Neighbourhoods with the coucil pg 11 Annex 1 Criteria for the Neighbourhood Grant Schemes pg 12 Annex 2 Ogganisational Chart pg 13
  • 6. page 1 Introduction The life of the city is in its people and the communities they create. The Community Development Section of Dublin City Council was established in 1973 to provide support, advice and assistance to enable people to take an active role in the development and improvement of their communities. From modest beginnings, the Section has grown both in size and in the range of services it offers to local communities throughout the city. Today the Community Development Section has: S Community development teams in each area; S Services for Older Persons; S Community Education and resident development programmes S Intercultural Relations Unit; S Recreation Centres S Special projects including Comhairle na n’Óg and the Lord Mayor’s Initiative The mission of the Community Development Section of Dublin City Council is to work with communities towards improving the quality of life of the people of Dublin. Over the last seven months, the Community Development Section has undertaken an in depth review of services and practice. Having considered what has worked well and having identified the opportunities for enhancement, the Section has proceeded to set out an ambitious strategy for the future. The strategy to follow builds on a long and proud tradition of community building and public service, as well as creatively responding to the challenges of a new and more individualistic society. Since the establishment of the section over thirty years ago, the City region has experienced dramatic changes, particularly over the last four to five years. A city with a population in the region of almost two million people in 2006, it is now an international capital with global connections, most visible in the mix within the immigrant population. If the Community Development section of the Council is to keep pace with our changing city; its neighbourhood structures and the varying needs of our citizens, it is vital that we continue to evolve with the city region and the people that we serve. This strategy aims not alone to keep pace with the changing times, but to set a new pace and a new agenda for the city region: an agenda that aims towards neighbourhood revitalisation, and promotes age old principles of active citizenship and civic responsibility in new and innovative ways.
  • 7. page 2 Aside from the changes on the physical landscape, policy change is also evident. Indeed this strategy is timely insofar as it addresses many of the policy questions around the role of Community Development and its potential to narrow the gap between citizens and local government. There are a number of developments at national and local level that will drive the City Council’s future policy. These include: S Bowling Together in the Capital –An Action Plan for Social Capital and Active Citizenship in Dublin City 2007 produced by Dublin City Council’s Communities First Task Force S The promotion of active citizenship as outlined in the Task Force for Active Citizenship Report, March 2007. The concepts of Active Citizenship and Asset Based Development, which is highlighted in both documents, sits closely alongside Robert Putnam’s concept of Social Capital, a concept that in recent years has influenced social policy development across the western world. Indeed the strategy to follow is an attempt by the Community Development section to identify, connect and mobilise indigenous social capital within neighbourhoods throughout the city. This strategy recognises the importance of the following strategic themes: S Focus on Social Inclusion and Cohesion S Support Enterprise and Economic Development S Promote the development of a Family Friendly city S Support Neighbourhoods/Building Communities S Promote integration of Migrant Communities S Promote Active Citizenship
  • 8. page 3 Context The community and neighbourhood development strategy employs a wide range of approaches including the Asset Based Approach. The strategy promotes the principles of Active Citizenship, participatory democracy and social inclusion. A cross cutting theme, throughout the strategy, is the active inclusion of young people in society. Bringing young people - especially those who have been marginalised from their community- back into the support network that only a community can provide, is critical to addressing issues of anti-social behaviour and crime as well as supporting family and neighbourhoods across the city region. Community Development While few if any community development practitioners would contest the relevance of community development, many disagree on the definition. Indeed one of the great challenges for DCC (Community Development section) in developing a coherent community development strategy is in working through the scores of divergent definitions that exist. Going forward, the Council has decided to adopt the European Community’s Development definition and to interpret this definition in the light of the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016. ‘Community development policy is grounded on the principle of sustainable, equitable and participatory human and social development. Promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance are an integral part of it. ...The main objective of Community development policy must be to reduce and, eventually, to eradicate poverty.’ (The European Community’s Development Policy) National partnership agreement Towards 2016 ‘Building and supporting sustainable communities is of crucial importance, particularly those that are subject to disadvantage. Many of the policy responses required in this area have benefits for people across the life cycle, and some are crosscutting,involving the co-ordination of policies in a number of areas’. (NAPSI 2007-2016) The cornerstones to our approach to Community Development are; A. Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) focuses on discovering and mobilising the resources that are already present in a community. The building blocks for sustainable communities include individuals, local voluntary associations, institutions, the local economy, and the physical infrastructure.
  • 9. page 4 The community and neighbourhood development strategy will, in line with the ABCD approach, involve three interconnected activities: discovering local assets, connecting these assets to work together, and then, creating opportunities for these assets to combine to be more productive and powerful together. B. Active Citizenship Active citizenship, as a term, suggests both a wider social concern and the capacity to engage in a participatory fashion in self-government. Indeed if people are to become civically engaged and take positive action to make things better in their communities, they have to firstly believe in their own and in local government’s capacity, to co-produce better, more sustainable neighbourhoods. This marks a shift in mindset for the Council; away from bringing ready made solutions to communities towards an approach that creates a space for people to decide how they want to address issues and how we can support them. C. Participatory Democracy More and more agency leaders, researchers and policy makers recognise that many social and economic problems can only be addressed when a wider partnership of local people work together with local institutions. Schools cannot succeed by the efforts of the teaching staff, the principal and the board of management alone, but only when parents, pupils, neighbours and statutory and voluntary agencies work with them. In the same way Dublin City Council and An Gardai Siochana cannot create safer neighbourhoods in isolation. This can only happen when the Gardai, city council officials, and neighbourhood groups work together. The truth is that every community that is getting stronger has, at its centre, an effort to build up a wider circle of people who choose to take action for the common good. This community and neighbourhood development strategy aims to support neighbours across the city to identify what they are motivated to act upon to make their neighbourhoods stronger, and to ensure that they have the power and democratic legitimacy to achieve their objectives. DCC proposes over the next five years to support the establishment of Neighbourhood Forums in neighbourhoods across the city which, in turn, might feed into a citywide network of Neighbourhood forums such as the Dublin City Community and Voluntary Forum and/or link into the Local Area Committee structures. Local Area Offices provide a valued vehicle in identifying local neighbourhoods interested in establishing Neighbourhood Forums, and thereafter in providing supports and technical assistance. D. Social Inclusion DCC Community Development Section wishes to work directly with communities to find useful ways to support excluded/socially isolated people to re-connect with their neighbourhoods. The first step in building a more inclusive community is recognising just how many people are at risk of being socially excluded. The need for social integration -across age, socio-economic status and ethnicity- is perhaps the most pressing priority facing this City region with its ever expanding New Communities, tenure diversity and complex inter play between affluence and disadvantage.
  • 10. page 5 Overall Aim To strengthen civil society by enhancing the connections between citizens, neighbourhoods and Dublin City Council (DCC) so that all will have greater and more meaningful opportunities to engage as co- producers of vibrant, sustainable communities. Objectives Dublin City Council has set the following strategic goals for its Community Development section for 2008 to 2013: Objective 1: Initiate a process of Neighbourhood Revitalisation. Objective 2: Mobilise greater citizen engagement and civic responsibility at local level. Objective 3: Initiate neighbourhood social inclusion initiatives that support relationship building between residents and (other residents) people on the margins of their communities. Objective 4: Promote Community Development and Neighbourhood Revitalisation through the arts, sport, culture and environmental enhancement. Objective 5: Complement and add value to the Community Development work of other Agencies, groups and organisations at local level. Objective 6: Support the establishment of inclusive self sustaining and democratic structures that link neighbourhoods with Dublin City Counci,l i.e. Neighbourhood Forums.
  • 11. page 6 Objectives 1. Initiate a process of Neighbourhood Revitalisation. The Community Development Section aims to engage with and mobilise all citizens from every neighbourhood across the city particularly with people who may find themselves isolated from their neighbours. As well as working with those who are socially excluded, we are setting ourselves the task of actively engaging with residents of apartment complexes, given that often the design and gated nature of many of these complexes has served to inhibit social networking. To ensure that the asset based approach becomes embedded in practice, the Community Development section will run two ABCD pilot/demonstration models in two neighbourhoods within the city, both of which will be independently evaluated. The implementation of this objective will rely heavily on the expertise and local knowledge of local area Community Development staff and local area offices. Helping the Community Connect One of the core objectives of the Community Development Section is to promote greater levels of engagement in civic life and greater civic responsibility at neighbourhood level. Realising this objective will start with a process of identifying with people what they are prepared to contribute to their neighbourhoods and then connecting them with like minded people, with a view to mobilising the combined assets and skills of these informal associations. As a starting point the Community Development Section will engage with existing formal and informal voluntary associations with a view to identifying people at local level who are natural ‘leaders’ and are eager to enhance their neighbourhoods. A shared concern for the neighbourhood is still a significant part of community life across the city, but the way that people organise to express this shared concern has changed over the years. People do not build their social networks around their faith communities or political or sporting allegiances to the same extent that they did in the past. As a result people have fewer opportunities and forums for civic engagement and often seem more comfortable organising around ‘door step issues’ and issues of immediate concern. With this in mind, the Community Development Section are proposing to work intensively with five neighbourhoods per annum using community organising and community building methodologies to support people to connect with each other and to organise in addressing concerns and making their neighbourhoods better.
  • 12. page 7 2. Mobilise greater citizen engagement and civic responsibility at local level This objective builds on the previous objective by focusing on the practical steps the Community Development section will take to revitalise neighbourhoods. Mobilising Associations An important starting point in achieving this objective will be mapping the individual formal and informal voluntary associations within each neighbourhood. Once the associations are mapped the Community Development Section will liaise with each of the associations to identify how we can combine our resources to engage individuals who tend not to participate in civic life, or who are socially excluded. Conducting Door to Door Learning Conversations The Section intends to work in partnership with voluntary associations to directly support their volunteers to initiate a process of door to door learning conversations. These learning conversations will aim to find out what people are motivated to act upon and then support them to become engaged at this level and connected with their neighbours who share common passions and motivations in making their neighbourhood a better place to live. Moving to a Neighbourhood Grants Scheme DCC proposes to deliver two new neighbourhood grant schemes (initially in the pilot areas) in order to encourage and facilitate local neighbourhoods to mobilise and act on neighbourhood issues. The two schemes proposed are: 1. The Neighbourhood Matching Grant Scheme 2. The Active citizenship Mini Grant Scheme The Neighbourhood Matching Grants scheme Going forward the section intends to re-align the small grants scheme to more closely reflect the matching grants and mini grants schemes. It is anticipated (where practicable) that by making a number of minor adjustment to DCC’s existing small grant scheme, we will attract greater involvement from associations who in the past have not engaged beyond their own core activity due to lack of support, or simply because they have never been asked. The Neighbourhood Matching Grants scheme will focus on informal voluntary associations, ranging from book clubs to playgroups. The concept underlying the fund is that as well as doing what they are established to do, informal voluntary associations may have other ideas as to how collectively they can physically improve their neighbourhood. The fund simply seeks to draw those ideas out and then support them.
  • 13. page 8 Making Neighbourhood Matching Grants Schemes Work The scheme is deliberately kept simple with the minimum amount of form filling and bureaucracy attached. In that spirit, where locally based voluntary associations do not have formal structures but have viable ideas, the Community Development Section will work with them to organise local sponsors e.g. Credit Unions, Area Based Partnerships, Family Resource Centres etc. to assist such informal groups in managing money and making reports. The Neighborhood Matching Fund will support initiatives that connect groups to work towards physical enhancements and build stronger communities at neighbourhood level. It is envisaged that the neighborhood or community will match the Matching Fund award with contributions of volunteer labour (e.g. tree planting), donated materials and professional services, or cash. All applicant groups must have an open membership and actively invite involvement from new members of all ages and backgrounds. A central aim of the neighbourhood matching grant is to elevate; value and celebrate voluntary effort and local assets at neighbourhood level. For this reason the Community Development section will host a celebration for all recipients of the neighbourhood matching grants. The celebration will also focus on the voluntary efforts of individual citizens. (See Annex 1 for criteria for the Neighbourhood Grant Scheme)1 Introducing the Active citizenship Mini Grant Scheme Parallel to the door to door interviews (learning conversations) and working with voluntary associations as mentioned above, an extremely effective way of engaging individuals is through the use of a Mini Grants scheme (as distinct from the Matching Grant scheme) which aims to provide grants for two or three people who want to take on a practical neighbourhood enhancement initiative and require a small amount of capital to get it up and running. Initially each application will be reviewed by the Neighbourhood Forum, or local residents associations in conjunction with the City Council. Nurturing Citizen Leaders Underpinning the door to door engagement and the strategic matching and mini grants approach is the aim of nurturing citizen leadership in each neighbourhood throughout the city. It is vital as a city that we support our citizen leaders in every practical way. Establish a Neighbourhood Revitalisation Unit To direct and implement the actions under this objective a Neighbourhood Revitalisation Unit will be established within the Community Development Section. 1.For a group to be eligible for funding it must be inclusive while remaining non-political and non-sectarian in its activities and ideologies.
  • 14. page 9 3. Initiate neighbourhood social inclusion initiatives that support relationship building between residents and people who are socially excluded. This objective seeks to encourage the development of meaningful links between socially excluded individuals and their neighbours. Individuals and associations currently active in their respective neighbourhoods will be encouraged and supported to genuinely include socially excluded individuals and groups by opening their network circles and inviting excluded people to join them. As well as promoting and encouraging more social inclusion initiatives, the Section will promote a culture of social inclusion across the city. There are a number of practical ways the Community Development section will promote this objective, including the use of active citizenship mini grant scheme and the neighbourhood matching grants. Recording the Success Stories A sample range of community success stories will be brought together on an annual basis in a publication to be entitled ‘Valuing Everyone’. This publication, which will include real stories and illustrations, will be a means of chronicling the City’s commitment to active citizenship and social inclusion. The publication will be launched on an annual basis in each neighbourhood and the work of relevant active citizens will be celebrated, thereby lifting their contributions up as inspiring examples of civic engagement The Section will also work closely with relevant Third Level institutions to identify a suite of empirically sound evaluation tools to measure social capital and quality of life trends within pilot areas with a view to quantitatively and qualitatively assessing the impact of this strategy on local neighbourhoods. 4. Promote Community Development and Neighbourhood revitalisation through the arts, sport, culture, and environmental enhancement This objective recognises the importance of the impact of art, sport, culture, and environmental enhancement on the public realm and in turn, on those who use it. The objective promotes the development of Community/Neighbourhood Gardens, public art and local festivals. These will be further developed with a view to engendering a sense of ownership over public spaces as well as aiming to add colour, texture, richness and depth to the places where citizens of the city meet Recognising the importance of these areas, a special category will be created under the neighbourhood matching grant scheme dedicated to supporting citizens to collaborate in the development of ‘community gardens’, community arts and sports that promote a community ethos.
  • 15. page 10 5. Complement and Add Value to the Community Development work of other Agencies, groups and organisations at local level The Section recognise that organisations such as local Area Based Partnerships, Community Development Programmes, Family Resource Centres, Community Networks, Community Development, Youth based organisations, and non governmental organisations that work directly with socially excluded people have a huge reservoir of knowledge and practice based experience in lifting the barriers synonymous with social exclusion. It is vital therefore that the Community Development Section works collaboratively with relevant agencies and local associations to provide the supports and personal assistance that excluded individuals and groups require, to participate and contribute at neighbourhood level. Therefore an overarching objective of the strategy is to form strategic alliances with such organisations and groups in an effort to add value to our respective services/supports. Another area which requires a high level of joined up thinking is around the establishment of Neighbourhood Forums. Ensuring a coordinated, collaborative approach in the establishment of democratic and inclusive structures is pivotal to the overall success of such an endeavour. The Dublin City Development Board provides the City region with an important strategic platform through which to promote greater levels of collaboration among stakeholders across all pillars: Social Partners, Business sector, Community Voluntary, and the Public sector. Additionally therefore the Section, through its strategic endeavours, will aim to complement and add value to the work of the Dublin City Development Board and its relevant sub committees, particularly the Social Inclusion Measures groups.2 2. The Social Inclusion Measures group was established as a statutory sub group of the Dublin City Development Board, which has a mandate to identify and prioritise NAPS target groups of disadvantage in the city and to monitor and co-coordinate social inclusion measures in the city.
  • 16. page 11 6. Support the establishment of inclusive self sustaining and democratic structures that link neighbourhoods with the Council The strategy to this point has focused almost exclusively on the citizen as a resident of a neighbourhood. Yet Dublin, if it is to function cohesively as a city, can not be understood simply as a cluster of neighbourhoods, with each working in isolation of the other. It is important that neighbourhoods are facilitated to feed into plans for the wider city in a way that both calls on them to think beyond their community boundaries and to connect with other communities across the city. Establishing Neighbourhood Forums One of the more effective means of connecting citizens and local government is via the establishment of Neighbourhood Forums which in turn could feed into a central city Forum, such as the Dublin City Community and Voluntary Forum and could also link into the Local Area Committee Structures. In practice the Section propose to support the voluntary development of such an infrastructure by starting with the results from the mapping of voluntary citizen associations in each neighbourhood, albeit with due regard to existing citizen representational structures. Initially it is proposed that a maximum of two Neighbourhoods, in separate electoral areas will be invited and supported to establish self sustaining democratic Neighbourhood Forums. It is envisaged that those Neighbourhood Forums would have an open and voluntary membership3 (non-political and non sectarian in their focus) made up of representatives from groups and organisations in that area, so that in effect, these Forums would become associations of associations. Experience teaches that Neighbourhood Forums that are representative of the widest possible range of citizen leaders from within the Neighbourhood are most effective and influential, hence the proposal that each Neighbourhood Forum be convened as an ‘association of associations’. It is envisaged that each Neighbourhood Forum will elect an executive committee that will in turn dialogue with Statutory, Community, Voluntary and Political Partners. With a view to expanding the agenda of establishing Neighbourhood Forums to other neighbourhoods across the city, the Community Development Section will create a Neighbourhood database -which will be maintained for each neighbourhood by the relevant DCC local area office. Linking Neighbourhood Forums into Local Area Committees It is vital for the health of local democracy that strong ongoing links between citizen leaders and elected Local Representatives are developed and nurtured. One of the practical ways in which this can be facilitated going forward is through the development of links between Community Forums and Local Area Committees with a view to working collaboratively to effect change at local level. 3. The Section recognises the importance of maintaining the independent Citizen centred nature of any given Neighbourhood Forum. It is therefore suggested that each fledgling Neighbourhood Forum should develop its own criteria for membership within the context of a Constitution. The Section will continue to promote the principle of inclusion and provide technical assistance in enhancing levels of inclusiveness
  • 17. page 12 Annex 1 Criteria for the Neighbourhood Matching Grant Scheme Awards will not be made to: S Individual persons or individual businesses. S Religious organisations, government agencies, political groups, district councils, universities, hospitals, newspapers, non-local organisations, non governmental organisations in receipt of other forms of funding inclusive of government funding. S Applicants who have failed to successfully carry out projects funded in the two preceding years. To be considered for funding, a project must demonstrate it is building a stronger and healthier community, by: S Providing a public benefit, resulting in a project or activity that benefits a geographic neighborhood or improves relations across ethnic groups and age groups (with particular emphasis on including young people), and strengthening understanding of multiculturalism S Emphasising self-help, i.e., neighbours/community members doing things for themselves, in partnership with each other and with other local organisations and the City Council. S Involving a minimum of 15 neighbours/members of the community in planning and implementing the project Neighborhood Matching Fund Awards cannot be used to: S Duplicate an existing public or private program S Support ongoing programs or services S Replace funding lost from other sources or provide gap funding S Pay for an organisation’s operating expenses that are not directly related to the awarded project S Purchase land or buildings S Pay for expenditures or financial commitments made before the organisation is under contract with Dublin City Council. There will be a number of criteria in place for an application to be eligible for match funding: S At least 25% of the match must come from the assets/resources of the neighborhood or identified community, as against Exchequer, Local Authority, Church, Trust, Foundation, or other funding, from non local business sources, or other entities.
  • 18. page 13 Annex 2: Organisational Chart: Community & Enterprise Section JOHN TIERNEY CITY MANAGER Ciarán McNamara Assistant City Manager Housing & Residential Services Martin Kavanagh Director of Community & Enterprise Community Development Social Inclusion Dublin City Development Board Children’s Services Unit Housing Welfare Integration/ Migrant Policy RAPID Programme
  • 19. Inside back cover Prepared by Cormac Russell, Nurture Development | September 2008 Designer and Publisher: Design Room | www.designroom.ie | email: info@designroom.ie
  • 20. Dublin City Council Community Development Section Community and Neighbourhood Development Strategy 2008-2012 Back page