How can community groups help tackle poverty in their neighbourhood?
Glenn Arradon and Steve Wyler from the Development Trusts Association (DTA) argue that community-led enterprise organisations can create a self-help and problem-solving culture to help individuals move out of poverty.
- Whilst many community groups are struggling, a new generation of enterprise organisations is emerging that use social enterprise methods and a 'can do' attitude to unlock potential in people and places.
- To consider how lessons can be shared, the DTA has reviewed the actions of member development trusts that are alleviating poverty in their community.
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What contribution can community groups make to tackling poverty in their neighbourhood? Glenn Arradon and Steve Wyler from the Development Trusts Association argue that community-led enterprise organisations including development trusts can act as a driver for positive change, creating a self-help and problem-solving culture, and helping individuals move out of poverty.
- While many community groups are struggling and indeed some are closing, a new generation of more confident and aspirational community organisations is emerging. These are characterised by the use of social enterprise methods, community asset ownership, and a ‘can do’ attitude that seeks to unlock potential in people and places: in short, ’community enterprise’.
- The DTA has reviewed the wide range of actions that its member development trusts are undertaking, which they feel make a contribution to tackling poverty in their community, to consider how lessons can be shared.
- It is clear that the underlying causes and manifestations of poverty are too complex to enable local community-led interventions, by themselves, to eradicate local poverty.
- Nevertheless, this work has identified a sample of actions which community enterprises such as development trusts may want to consider to help alleviate poverty, such as supporting micro-credit and debt advice, or initiatives to sell unwanted goods on the Ebay trading website on behalf of local people.
- Community-based enterprises such as development trusts can play an important role in alleviating poverty. They can give those without power a voice and access to resources and decision-making; they can act as a driver for service improvement and support local wealth generation; and they can contribute to building skills and self-confidence.