Community Work

Some fascinating stuff here!

The term community work has a relatively short history in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, the number of full-time practitioners who were described as being engaged in community work by the early 1980s was roughly equivalent to youth work or adult education. Then there appeared to be some 5,365 community workers, 60 per cent of which were employed in the voluntary sector (Francis, Henderson and Thomas 1984). Since then there has been no substantial survey of community workers – and there have also been fundamental changes in the economic and institutional context in which they operate.

In this piece we explore: the emergence of community work in the UK; the impact of anti-poverty initiatives such as the Community Development Project in the late 1960s and early 1970s; the shape of work in the 1980s – here focusing upon the categorisation and definition of community work advanced by David Thomas in his book The Making of Community Work (1983) (also of special importance here is Barr’s (1991) study of community work practice in Strathclyde); and the state of practice in the 1990s and at the turn of the century.

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