Community Development: I love my work, join me!
By Lucille Smith, Community Development Lead
I’m looking for the right person to join me in the Community Development team at the Southmead Development Trust. It’s a great organisation to work for and prides itself on supporting its staff from a people based approach – helping to embed work into real life rather then spread real life thinly around work. Our base is at the Greenway Centre which is a thriving hub of community, activity and local business. We also run The Ranch (Southmead Adventure Playground) which is a fantastic space for children’s Free Play and Youth work – you may remember it on BBC DIY SOS in May.
We have many teams here at the Trust with the shared ambition of supporting our community to thrive. My team’s role is on the ground, talking, listening and bringing people together to work on expanding community strength and power. We run an area at Greenway for community gatherings and activities, as well as helping to put on the annual Southmead Festival and to produce the community website and printed paper – The Mead. Does all this sound like something you’d like to do, would enjoy, be good at? If so, I’d love to meet you to hear your story.
I became a community worker through volunteering, or more accurately I discovered I was already doing community work but I just didn’t know it had a name. I was heavily involved in my local community, in the parks group, the school, as trustee of a single parent charity and on a residents committee fighting against the development of some land next to my house (we won!).
It’s the kind of job that comes easily to some, perhaps those who are naturally curious about people and want to help to make a difference. It’s a lot of fun with a serious mission. The purpose of coffee mornings and activity sessions is to meet and to connect people, to encourage residents to feel empowered to have a say and take action in their neighbourhoods. To help them to include other residents and to make even more connections, create more groups, more gatherings and more strength in communities we can be proud of.
There’s lots of variety in my day – I could get beaten at scrabble, meet colleagues from across Bristol to discuss the cost of living crisis with the Mayor, apply for funding for a refugee celebration event, and get involved in a campaign to save a community centre. I get to meet loads of different people and to hear their stories, finding out about their passions and skills and how they want to be involved to keep their communities strong and resilient.
I think Community Development has really changed in the last 10 years. It used to be about fixing problems but these days it’s all about finding the skills and passions of local people and helping them to make the changes they want to see. This is an ‘asset based’ approach: finding out what good things a community already has and helping to grow those things – it feels so much better with much more sustainable results.
Community is very important to me and a massive source of support and joy. I feel so lucky to work in the amazing place that is Southmead and to play a part in residents accessing and contributing to the amazing resource that is their own community. Do come and join me!
For all info & to apply for the Community Development Worker role click> here
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Contact – email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 0117 950 3335
(pic above: me having had a great time helping a group make origami flowers for charity Invisible Army’s> 40,138 project)