Five tips for getting your community development idea off the ground
I have worked in Community Development for over 20 years and in my many roles I have had the opportunity to deliver lots of exciting community projects. One that particularly inspired me was the 24-hour ‘Big Brother in Da Castle project’ that targeted at risk young people aged 13-17. In my role at Origin my most rewarding projects have been the Cream Tea club, the health road shows in retirement schemes for our older residents.
And more recently the project work I have been doing with Enfield Single Housing (ESH) residents, promoting health and wellbeing through a range of activities like yoga, box fit, mindfulness and the Crowdfunder sponsored walk at Forty Hall. This month I will be delivering the ESH ‘Come Dine with Me’ project. The aim of this project is to reduce low level ASB and improve relationships amongst residents living in ESH shared accommodation.
If you have an idea for a community project in mind go for it! Here are my top five tips to get you started.
- Identify if there is a need for your project in the community that you care about. It is vital to involve stakeholders from the very beginning to get their support.
- Have a clear vision and come up with a plan that gets you excited. Ask yourself is your project realistic? What are the risks? How will I fund it? Is my project sustainable? Questions answered, are you still feeling excited?
- If you still believe you have an exciting plan and that it is realistic then it is time to commit. Set a start date and stick to it. Tell everybody you know and work with about what you are doing and when you will start. Build strong networks & partnerships before the launch of your project.
- Create a project plan with a timeline, clear goals, outputs and outcomes.don’t be afraid to change and adapt your plan according to stakeholder needs, resources and capacity. Some flexibility is good.
- If you start to feel overwhelmed remind yourself of why you began this project in the first place and ask for help from your colleagues and volunteers, more hands really do make light work. And lastly enjoy the process and have fun.