CDEC's work with young people is about helping to make them confident, proactive and responsible citizens of the future. And that means helping them within their communities.
But what do we mean by community?
Community can mean different things to different people: a geographical area, or a group of people living in a particular place, perhaps a network and relationships between its members. For others, it is a common place, where you give and receive help and services or share interests. No doubt, many of these overlap.
Community can be also approached as a value (Frazer 2000: 76). So people within a community might, for example, give solidarity, share commitment, mutuality and trust.
Some (Cohen 1982) see communities as playing a crucial symbolic role in generating people's sense of belonging and identity. Therefore, they make it a place of memory, a resource of meaning and part of their identity.
Our work within communities, tries to take account of all these different understandings of 'community'. However, what we want to achieve is a welcoming place for all.
How do we work within communities?
We continue to innovate our practices and learn with and for our communities. We are building and consolidating strong regional and local partnerships with other Cumbrian community organisations.
The educational and community projects CDEC runs aim to bring local and global perspectives together – this is only possible if we work with our community members using dialogue, enquiry and a vast array of highly engaging participatory methods and approaches. We do this to stay in the conversation and to connect on the issues that matter to Cumbrians and the wider world.
Part of this is helping the younger generations within their communities to develop intergenerational links and to appreciate that they do have the agency to make their area better - whether that is a cleaner place, or a more open and accepting space, for instance - or helping other people make where they live a more inviting place for children and their families moving in from other places.