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Introducing social work: a starter kit
Introducing social work: a starter kit

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3.1 Community development and the role of social work

This is a photograph of people in a cafe.
Figure 11

Community development can be seen as building or releasing social capital for collective benefit. It supports networks that foster mutual learning and develop shared commitments and a common vision so that people can work and live together in relatively stable communities.

(Gilchrist, 2004, p. 11)

Since this period the role of community development workers has declined. However, the importance of understanding the needs and aspirations of people within geographic locations continues to be important for practice. Barr (2015) suggests that social work still makes a valuable contribution to community development in partnership-based initiatives, working with members of communities and colleagues from a range of professional and organisational backgrounds.