Community Building as a Foundation
People want to live in a community that is safe and attractive, where they have access to services that meet their needs and where they have an opportunity to participate in a vibrant and productive community.
Plans for new communities are increasingly incorporating a community development approach considering accessibility to services such as schools, transport and health care, opportunities for increased leisure activities and social participation, sustainable and responsive management structures amidst a high quality physical environment.
Community building is also high on the social policy agenda both nationally and internationally. Terms such as community building, capacity building, social inclusion and community strengthening are all used to describe initiatives that have broader objectives from reducing child poverty and crime to boosting economic and social participation, health, and wellbeing.
There are many examples of projects and approaches that have had varied successes, challenges, and outcomes. However, all aim to achieve similar outcomes: happy, healthy people who feel they have increased life opportunities and can contribute to and are valued by their community.
Better Communities is a vehicle to deliver on these aspirations.
Community Building Strategy / Principles
We aim to identify, prioritise and address the issues that matter most to the community and where we can make a positive impact.
Recognising that 1-in-5 children in New Zealand today are identified as lacking the essentials and identified as being vulnerable, we place a particular focus on developing impact-led collaborations that improve early childhood outcomes and school to work transitions because these are key transition points for children and young people.
We believe the key building blocks in building a thriving community are:
Education – 20% of children start school developmentally vulnerable so we will focus our community impact activity on improving outcomes for children 0 – 8.
Employment – Youth unemployment for 15-24 year olds is high and research shows us that unemployment levels in communities experiencing disadvantage are higher than the total population.
Housing and Health – research tells us that housing stability and physical and mental health are key issues in communities experiencing disadvantage.
We will implement a community building strategy within the developments through:
- Economic Innovation – providing opportunities for participation in education, training and employment through partnerships with labour market programs, supporting local traders, creating sustainable community enterprises and wherever possible including business opportunities
- Promoting Health and Wellbeing – leveraging improvement in health, safety and services through collaborative programs including community safety, pathways to health, older persons and youth focussed activities
- Community Strengthening – leveraging and supporting quality, well designed housing and a functional neighbourhood via culturally appropriate and collaborative planning processes
Our Community Building Principles
- Understanding the local community issues through community conversations, correlating date, mapping services and identifying gaps.
- Conducting all our activity from a perspective that fosters community participation, empowerment, and ownership
- Mobilising resources to secure the long-term investment of funds, skills, and networks to tackle complex social issues
- Acting in partnership with others to strengthen communities
- Influencing systems change by sharing learning, advocating and scaling community impact locally and nationally.