This assignment is an evaluation of my second year field practice placement, drawing on aspects of the understanding of the organisation in terms of analysing the community development project

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This assignment is an evaluation of my second year field practice placement, drawing on aspects of the understanding of the organisation in terms of analysing the community development project. The community development project consisted of organising a number of taster sessions, which would enable the client group to have access to a number of various educational opportunities while taken note of the fundamental need of the client group, which is to be social included and feel apart of 'normality'.

Community development models seem to have an emphasis on participation, initiative and self help, therefore while drawing on aspects of the organisation this assignment will determine in particular which models are relevant to my project. Finally, my role as a professional worker and my contribution towards the development project has been critically assessed throughout the assignment.

The link between social exclusion and social inequalities were the initial models of community development, but these were highly contestable and problematic as a result the Home Office set up community development projects to attempt to deal with deprivation.. In establishing a link with social class and community, the community development projects allowed for various forms of support mainly in the set up initiatives. The Community Development Foundation is a non-profitable organisation, working with communities, providing advice on new policy proposals.

The community development is seen as a structured intervention that gives communities greater control over the conditions that have an impact on their lives. However which model is appropriate to the taster sessions it is important to mention that a great deal of aspects from these models have a high degree of overlap between them. However, these models are important in terms of categorising a number of central approaches in community work. While there is a great deal of overlap there are 3 main models in particular that have a direct impact on the project community organisation, community development and community action.

Community Organisation is the most traditional approach and has an emphasis on improving welfare services. (Ledwith (1997)

Community Development with a focus of assisting groups to acquire the skills and confidence to improve the quality of their lives. (Popple 1995)

Community Action approach is a reaction to the more paternalistic forms of community work. It is a response by relatively powerless groups to increase their effectiveness. (Ledwith (1997)

Lifeline seems to relate best with community organisation, because the model is based on improving the co- ordination between different welfare agencies in this case drug and alcohol. (Popple 1995) In many parts of Brittan drug and alcohol services come under different organisations suggesting that the provision may exist more than once, but within Huddersfield the provision of lifeline deal with it all, in terms of substantial networking from colleges, prisons, rehabilitation to employment. The organisation is also service orientated, meaning that some of the work carried out within Outlook is relatively experimental work such as the taster organised by myself, which were funded by the state but had an experimental edge to them in terms of a new initiative that has not been tried previously.

The majority of drug users within the organisation have been identified as being excluded from society as a result of criminal activity and convictions. Therefore it seems crime, drug use and social exclusion form a visous circle and with group being an open group, meaning members can join at anytime, (Preston-Shoot 2002) this making it very difficult to build any tangible working relationship with the clients. (Appendix 2) Throughout the community development project it has also been difficult to determine what the best focus was for the clients, because at times it seemed apparent that the clients did not achieve any real benefit from the session. For example, a drama workshop was helpful for the purpose of raising the clients self esteem with an overall aim to increase the clients confidence levels. This may have resulted in the some clients gaining confidence in a productive manner, but two clients gained confidence in a negative way because the clients in question, felt they could go out and commit criminal activity with fighting another individual, and when challegned about their behaviour they said the session enabled them to feel more confident about fighting the other individual. (Appendix 1) Therefore after this incident I questioned is progressing in terms of confidence really the way forward for the client group, because from my opinion some of the underlying issues needs addressed as a priority, such as the criminal activity.

Drug and alcohol work in Huddersfield has become narrower and is being replaced by Lifeline's community group work approach, which seems to changing the focus from social work to community group work, as a result of the governments new initiatives in the field of drugs and alcohol this organisation could come under community care to a certain extent, but with the local authorities developing their own new organisational models to reach the targets the Government has set, resulting in the Popple's and Ledwith being somewhat simplistic, The lifeline service was a new government inititive with a multi-agency focus in which their aim is to link rehabilitation, social care and offer individuals and family support for those individuals affected by drug misuse. Also, the agency has a number referral links with other agencies, such as college and employement. The taster sessions were given a focus and set objectives to meet and this resulted in the session being redesigned in order to meet the overall organisations objectives. Suggesting as Paulo Freire (1996) does that education is either designed to maintain the existing situation, imposing the values of the dominant culture of society on them which would make sense seeing as how the government provides the funding for the organisation with the fundermental agenda of reducing crime. The sessions and the agency in my opinion do not liberate but oppress the individuals to an extent, by imposing certain ethics and values of the dominant ideology on the individuals using informal education. For example, the taster sessions did not allow a lot of freedom when it came to clients being critical or creative in my opinion. Also in the fieldwork report form it was identified that I fully understood the services ethos and what the organisation is trying to achieve. (Refer to fieldwork report form) My role within this project could be described as a facilitator or information educator which imposed the values of the mainstream culture. The reasons the values seemed to be imposed was because when designing the taster session I was not really encouraged to take into account the needs of the clients as a main priority, but it was informed that the education programme needed something in place in a relatively short time, enabling the organisation to satisfy the funders. This contradicting the main role identified in the community profile which was to enable the clients to feel 'normal', because the clients felt oppressed and by raising a conciousness of the oppression which is exacted upon the oppressed, can they embrace a stake in change (Freire, P 1998) however it was apparent that this change did not happen because the organisations main priority was satisfying the funders.
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Also, the multi agency approach has resulted in smaller agencies of community development and organisation being excluded and are finding it harder to develop a common culture as they may find it difficult to acquire the resources of the larger agencies, such as Outlook

During the planning phase it was decided that my formative evaluation would be the organisations summative, while taken note of this it was decided that due to time I would not use a formal summative evaluation of the project. However, I would use an informal approach in terms of ujsing my professional judgement ...

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