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Tailor-made: how community groups improve people’s lives

Author: Alison Seabrooke, Community Development Foundation

The Community Development Foundation (CDF) has published new research which shows the vital contribution small community groups make to society and how funders can best support them.

Tailor-made: how community groups improve people’s lives found that community groups are able to develop ‘tailor-made’ support for people in their communities. They compliment statutory services because they have the flexibility to meet specific needs with groups of people or whole communities – providing bespoke support.

The types of outcomes of the work being carried out by these groups include:

  • building safer communities:  they prevent crime, support victims of crime and support ex-offenders in rebuilding their lives
  • improving the physical environment: they maintain and improve the physical environment  including parks, allotments and buildings
  • enhancing health and wellbeing: they tackle the wider causes of poor health and wellbeing such as poverty, housing, employment, crime, pollution and isolation
  • supporting local economies: they provide training and support to help people into work. They also contribute to economic growth by supporting people to start small businesses and helping people to manage their money better so there is more to spend locally.

CDF found that community groups provide lived experience of the issues they are working with and this personal experience provides a unique insight that can complement other forms of expert knowledge. The trust gained by these groups makes people in communities more likely to come forward for help and support.

The research was jointly funded by CDF, Asda Foundation and Trust for London.

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29 October 2014

Tailor-made: how community groups improve people’s lives