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Seeing and doing: learning, resources and social networks below the radar

McCabe, Angus and Phillimore, Jenny (2013) Seeing and doing: learning, resources and social networks below the radar. Working Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham.


URL of Published Version: http://tsrc.ac.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=X5IRJ%2bLTLOo%3d&tabid=500


There is a growing interest in social networks and the potential that exploring them brings to understanding development and change in communities. Equally, there has been substantial investment over the past decade in community capacity building aimed at enabling communities to have a voice in decision making processes, establishing independent organisations to meet local needs, or developing communities’ ability to manage local assets and services. These themes, of voluntary action, community organising and asset transfer, influence policy across both the New Labour and Coalition administrations. Indeed, if anything, the Localism Bill and Open Government White Paper places even higher expectations on communities in terms of local governance and the delivery of services.
Yet, little is known about how those active in small, below the radar, community groups gain the skills, knowledge and resources they need to meet their goals and objectives, whether political or service driven. Indeed, the assumption which has underpinned ‘capacity building’ initiatives, and remains a core element of the Community Organisers Programme, has been that skills are best developed through formal training and education.
In this context, the following working paper, based on a series of pilot interviews with 15 community groups that began their activities as informal or ‘below the radar’ community organisations, aims to explore:
• What types of resources, social networks and skills do communities harness to reach their goals?
• How do they acquire those skills and resources?
• What can exploring the social networks involved in delivering community actions tell us about how community groups emerge, develop and evolve?
• What kinds of policy and practice is needed to support access to the kinds of social networks, resources and skills that community groups need to get on in their local contexts?

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Third Sector Research Centre

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Date:01 January 2013
Series/Collection Name:TSRC Working Paper Series
Keywords:Community groups; social networks, learning and resources.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Related URLs:
Funders:Economic and Social Research Council, Office for Civil Society, Barrow Cadbury Trust
Copyright Holders:Third Sector Research Centre
ID Code:1788

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