What is Community Development?

Community development is about building active and sustainable communities based on social justice and mutual respect.

It is about changing power structures to remove the barriers that prevent people from participating in the issues that affect their lives.

Community workers support individuals, groups and organisations in this process on the basis of certain values and commitments


Social Justice - enabling people to claim their human rights, meet their needs and have greater control over the decision-making processes which affect their lives.
Participation -facilitating democratic involvement by people in the issues which affect their lives based on full citizenship, autonomy, and shared power, skills, knowledge and experience.
Equality – challenging the attitudes of individuals, and the practices of institutions and society, which discriminate against and marginalise people.
Learning – recognizing the skills, knowledge and expertise that people contribute and develop by taking action to tackle social, economic, political and environmental problems.
Co-operation – working together to identify and implement action, based on mutual respect of diverse cultures and contributions.


  • Challenging discrimination and oppressive practices within organisations, institutions and communities.
  • Developing practice and policy that protects the environment.
  • Encouraging networking and connections between communities and organisations.
  • Ensuring access and choice for all groups and individuals within society.
  • Influencing policy and programmes from the perspective of communities.
  • Prioritising the issues of concern to people experiencing poverty and socialexclusion.
  • Promoting social change that is long-term and sustainable.
  • Reversing inequality and the imbalance of power relationships in society.
  • Supporting community led collective action.
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