Community Support Service

How to do

The community support team offers a range of opportunities to develop the trustee boards and staff of Community Associations.

Further information, sample documents advice and support can also be found on a variety of websites. These are listed under categories on our links page

Sample Documents

We have developed a series of sample documents to help you develop systems for your organisation. These give a basis for the subjects covered, but it is vital that they are tailored to your organisation and that you check that they adhere to current legislation.

Building management

Employment and volunteers

Health & Safety



Policies and procedures


Contact other centres to get copies of their documents. See which Community Associations have agreed to share their policies.


Bite-size training and development

If you want to start some trustee board and staff development take a look at the online bite-size modules


Glossary of Definitions

Community The web of personal relationships, groups, networks, traditions and patterns of behaviour that exist amongst those who share physical neighbourhoods, socio-economic conditions or common understandings and interests.
Community Action Campaigning tactics of community groups that are in disagreement with an official agency. Tactics include demonstrations, public meetings and using the media.
Community Activists People who are active on a voluntary basis in the development of their communities.
Capacity Building … is about building skills and competencies and recognising those already within a community. It is increasingly being used amongst policy makers and managers to increase their understanding of communities
Community Cohesion A cohesive community is a community that is in a state of well-being, harmony and stability.
3Community Development 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. Genuine and effective community development is done in accordance with certain values and commitments.
Community Development Learning 'Takes place when individuals and groups/ organisations come together to share experience, learn from each other, and develop their skills, knowledge and self-confidence. It is a developmental process that is both a collective and individual experience, based on a commitment to equal partnership between all those involved to enable a sharing of skills, awareness, knowledge, and experience in order to bring about sustainable desired outcomes.'
Community (social) Enterprise Combines community-led action with business activities aimed at economic development and social gain. Community enterprises have explicit social aims and are accountable to their communities. They are independent but work in partnership with others.
Community Groups & Organisations ...are located within communities of geography or interest. They are controlled by their users and are usually small and informal with no paid staff. They are often referred to collectively as the community sector
Community Participation about enabling people to become active partners in the regeneration of communities by contributing and sharing in the decisions that affect their lives. Participation should enable people to have a degree of power and control in the processes with which they are involved.
Community Sector 'Those organisations active on a local or community level, usually small, modestly funded and largely dependent on voluntary, rather than paid, effort. Can be seen as distinct from the larger, professionally staffed agencies which are most visible in voluntary sector profiles. Hence the phrase 'voluntary and community sector' to encompass the full range.
Compact Agreement between the Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) made in 1998. It is designed to improve their relationship for mutual advantage. Within the Compact are 5 Codes of Practice relating to the following areas:
  • Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Voluntary & Community Groups (2001)
  • Community Groups (July 2003)
  • Consultation & Policy Appraisal (2000)
  • Funding (2000)
  • Volunteering (2001)
There are also some Local Compacts, which are agreements at a local level between the VCS sector, councils and other local public bodies
Community Strategies Local Authorities now have to prepare a community strategy for promoting the economic, social and environmental well being of their area and a vision for the future. The expectation is that this will be produced with organisations in the private, voluntary and community sectors
Empowerment Working with people to define and deal with problems, and assert their interests in decision-making. This requires empathy and an ability to engage with individuals, working to develop and maintain appropriate forms of organisation. It may also involve changing existing organisations so that their practices and culture embrace the empowerment of communities. In this process the role of the community worker requires expertise, diplomacy and courage. By helping communities to develop informal networks and formal organisations, the worker will inevitably challenge and re-negotiate existing power relations, seeking to create alliances which are to the advantage of disadvantaged groups
Enable Facilitating access to the skills, knowledge and resources needed for communities to take action
Equality Challenging the attitudes of individuals, and the practices of institutions and society, which discriminate against and marginalise people.
Evaluation Evaluation helps to assess the effectiveness of community development projects, programmes and policies, and why they are or are not successful.  It should be a continuous process so that experience effectively informs future planning and development. It is not something to be left until the end but should be undertaken from the beginning. Evaluation is not the same as routine monitoring or performance management.  It focuses on the broader picture i.e. the contribution to meeting long term objectives, and the reasons why achievements or difficulties happen.
Exit Strategy A strategy put in place at the beginning of a project which allows workers to withdraw without compromising its success and sustainability.
Impacts The long term changes that take place in the community as a result of what you have done
Local Area Agreements (LAA) Agreements made between central and local government in a local area. Their aim is to achieve local solutions that meet local needs, while also contributing to national priorities and the achievement of standards set by central government
Local Strategic Partnerships (LSP) ...bring together the different parts of the public sector with the private business, community and voluntary sectors in order to work together more effectively. They are expected to prepare and implement the community strategy and develop targets where there is to be a public service agreement. It is not a statutory requirement to have a Local Strategic Partnership but most Local Authorities (94%) are establishing or planning to establish one. In the 88 Local Authority areas eligible for the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund it is a condition of funding that a Partnership is developed. One of the roles of the Partnership will be to develop and deliver a local neighbourhood renewal strategy. Local Strategic Partnerships should rationalise and simplify other Local Partnerships arrangements and work with neighbourhood based partnerships.
Networking Effective community development requires opportunities for community activists and volunteers, community workers, and managers to share ideas and experiences and take joint action on issues of common concern. Some of this networking will be face to face and it is important that time and resources are allocated to enable this to happen. Increasingly the internet is used as a tool to enable more frequent contact and networking over longer distances. Networking is important because it provides access to information, support, resources and influence. It enables co-operation between practitioners, researchers and policy makers in different sectors through the development of trust and understanding. This co-operation depends on establishing and maintaining both organisational links and personal relationships. Connections which span agency, geography and identity, are especially useful because they bring new perspectives and challenges.
Outcomes Many of the outcomes seem intangible and cannot always be predicted. They are what happens as a result of what you do rather than the direct result.
Power to Promote Well Being A new general power that Local Authorities have to promote or improve the economic, social and environmental well being of their area.
Partnerships Structures that exist to deliver programmes. They bring together a number of formal organisations, for example statutory authorities, private companies and voluntary organisations. It has been unusual for community sector groups and organisations to be represented, although there are now attempts to include community interests.
Performance Indicator A way of measuring how a service is performing against its objectives. Performance indicators may be collected for local or national purposes.
Primary Care Trust (PCT) 'Evolved from primary care groups, PCTs are free-standing statutory bodies that provide primary and community services and commission secondary (hospital) care on behalf of their local population. By April 2004, all PCG's are expected to be PCTs, which will commission 75% of the NHS budget.'
Quango Stands for quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation, sometimes referred to as a non-departmental body. Although Quangos are part of national Government they operate at a distance. The Audit Commission is a Quango.
Regeneration The process of upgrading an area through social, economic and infrastructure investment and improvement.
Regional Development Agency There are eight Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in England established in 1999, covering the eight regions. Their remit is to promote sustainable economic development, they are business-led but have no statutory powers.
Social Capital The idea of trust and cooperation that can be measured within communities. This is increasingly seen as being of fundamental importance to social inclusion and regeneration programmes.
Social Exclusion The Government has defined social exclusion as "a shorthand term for what can happen when people or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown." This is a deliberately flexible definition and the problems listed are only examples...The most important characteristic of social exclusion is that these problems are linked and mutually reinforcing, and can combine to create a complex and fast moving vicious cycle...The term includes poverty and low income, but is broader and addresses some of the wider causes and consequences of poverty.
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.
Stakeholders Groups and organisations with an interest (stake) in what happens with a project, programme or development.
Sustainable Development Improving quality of life without compromising the future. A process of planning which integrates social, economic, and environmental perspectives, and must include significant discussion with the communities involved.