A Reflection on Community Work at St Peter’s

Photo: Chris doing some consultation with some children

Chris doing some consultation with some children

Photo: Children doing some creative consultation!

Children doing some creative consultation!

Chris Florance writes ….

I have been the Community Worker at St Peter’s for over nine years and my time here in Braunstone is to to come to an end in July 2010. In the light of this I felt that it would be a good idea to spend time reflecting on what I have been doing, how I have been doing it and to begin looking at the effectiveness of the work and how these ideas can be taken forward.

Well, over a period of about three months I have been having wiki and email discussions, interviews and focus groups. This has all helped consolidate, develop and inform my thinking and in September I was able to complete a written report. I thought that there might be something of this story that is worth sharing with the wider church and society about the processes and praxis of community development.

The report can be downloaded from here and the brief executive summary is below:

– I have been employed since 2000 as the Community Worker at St Peter’s Braunstone, on the western edge of Leicester.

– Braunstone, a large council estate with multiple deprivations, was selected for a government grant of nearly £50 million under the New Deal for Communities programme. My post was directly related to this initiative.

– The introductory chapters (Section 1) describe some of the thinking behind the post, and outline its setting up and structure.

– The bulk of the report (Section 2) describes a number of pieces of work I did, mostly in partnership with others from voluntary, statutory and church agencies. I reflect on their impact on the life of the church and estate, especially in relation to the values of Christian faith and community development that underlie what I have tried to do.

– In the final chapters (Section 3) I bring these reflections together, attempting to draw out my own personal learning, pointers for further work by the local church (St Peter’s) and lessons which I think can be learned by the wider Church and society.

– One key feature of my work has been a desire to let local people set the agenda: my role has been to listen, and help them to articulate what they really want. I have been helped in this by my freedom from the external pressures often faced by community workers, of having to tick boxes and meet short-term deadlines: community development is an organic process which must be allowed to take time.

– While the Braunstone estate has been my “patch”, I have had a role in helping the congregation of St Peter’s to develop as well. The final few months of my employment here will be committed to empowering St Peter’s to carry on its creative involvement in the community, after my departure in July 2010.

This entry is dated Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 3.34pm and is filed under News.

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