Community development has long been at the heart of Communities First. In this Blog post from the Communities First Support Services Blog Nia Jones of Community Development Cymru outlines what its Recognition Schemes can offer both workers and activists in Communities First areas, Wales.

“Community Development Cymru has recently delivered Recognition Schemes with some colleagues in Communities First. Recognition Schemes are learning programmes delivered to small groups with the support of a mentor who guides participants through the process. The schemes are designed to recognise people’s paid or unpaid work in the community, and to measure and accredit skills, knowledge and prior experiences to enable them to achieve qualifications. Recognition is about where people are now!

Assessments are based on the CDNOS (Community Development National Occupational Standards). Members are encouraged to tell stories of their own experiences of community involvement. These activities are mapped against the values and principles contained in the CDNOS standards. This process also raises awareness of the theories and practice of Community Development which is an additional bonus.

Recognition Schemes are suitable for anyone working or participating in community activities at any level. They accredit people’s prior learning and experiences, making the process both personal and relevant. They motivate and enable individuals, providing them with a qualification which often leads on to further learning, and enhancing work prospects as well.

The schemes normally run over six weeks and are led by an experienced member of staff from CDC.”

Case study: Recognition Scheme for the Upper Rhymney Valley
By Jenny Sissons, GAVO Community Development Officer

Piloting the Recognition scheme in the Upper Rhymney Valley (URV) has been a great practical example of Asset Based Community Development in action. As a Community Development Officer the scheme has been an invaluable opportunity to promote community development learning in the community where I work. To participate in the scheme alongside other community members has been brilliant as we have been able to learn, grow and discuss what positive changes in the community could look like when we work together.

Doing the course has helped me understand the principles and values of community development in greater depth and studying the CDNOS has clarified for me what good community development practice looks like. I have been challenged to think about the different ways of moving forward with local community members from deprived areas, to not only support them to understand what community development can achieve in their communities, but empowering and encouraging them that they have the assets and skills needed to make a difference.

For me as a Community Development Officer learning about the CDNOS and the values was really helpful in enabling me to put together a more effective personal strategy for my work. It has cemented in me the notion that there is no force for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about, and that the greatest project idea in the world will not be successful if we are not engaged in conversation with the local community from the start.

The recognition scheme and mentor support has made me think about my own continuing professional development and has encouraged me to apply for a Postgraduate course in Community Development to continue my reflective practice. I hope that in the future the Recognition Scheme will be able to be more widely run in the URV as it is an invaluable resource in recognising the assets of local people, encouraging them to learn what community development really looks like and empowering them to take positive action in their own lives and in their local communities.

If you would like to know more contact Nia Jones, Senior Development Worker at
Community Development Cymru.

Email: nia@cdcymru.org

Phone: 01686 627377