As well as our well-known volunteering and training programmes, TCV also works with people within their own communities, to create, build and support very local projects. In fact, about 50% of the work we do in the South East of England falls into these types of activities.
Community Builder is our way of describing our work with local people in the places where they live, helping them to grow safer, healthier and happier places for everyone.
We do this in two ways:
- Supporting existing, local community groups, to help them to improve how they do things or tackle a wider range of activities.
- Setting up new community groups from scratch.
Supporting Existing Local Community Groups
We do this using a process we’ve developed, called the TCV Group Review. This allows us to ‘benchmark’ how well a local community group is functioning. This information can then help its members to make clear and informed decisions, based on a ‘good practice’ standard. It also helps to ensure they’re up to date with issues such as health & safety, safeguarding and practical management techniques, to ensure their group is operating as safely and effectively as it can.
In addition to this, we provide specific elements of support to all sorts of local organisations, including conservation volunteer, friends of and special interest groups, as well as residents’ associations and schools. These include the following:
- Community consultation
- Volunteer recruitment
- Bespoke training
- On-site practical support
- Tool & equipment loan
- Ecological advice
- Funding advice
- Forums and get togethers
- Group ‘good practice’ reviews
- Health & safety guidance
- A national membership network of nearly 2,000 groups
Setting Up New Local Community Groups
These are normally time-limited projects, running for between 18 months and three years, where the focus is on a specific group of outcomes, be they environmental, health or economic. Typically, one of the most important is the development of a new, local community group, run by its own members, without the need for TCV to do this on their behalf. This is a cost effective model for our funders and partners and provides each group with the maximum level of independence and self-determination.
Our model for doing this has proved to be an excellent way to support sustainable community development, which puts power into the hands of local people. We are especially proud that there are many, many groups locally that were originally set up in this way. More recently, we’ve been using our Community Builder model to grow groups with a wider range of interests than just local greenspaces, such as community reliance, cohesion and health.
If you would like to know more about our Community Builder approach, or are interested in our support for a specific group, please contact us for further details. Alternatively, if you would prefer to write to us or ring us, you can use our local contact details, or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more or to join our local group membership scheme, please visit the TCV Community Network.