Community Development and Umbrella Bodies: Networking for Neighbourhood Change

Gretchen Ennis, Deborah West

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper explores the application of a network approach within the context of a community development project in suburban Northern Australia which aimed to develop positive social connections across different cultural groups. A neighbourhood group facilitated by a social worker drew upon network approaches to community development and created an 'umbrella body' comprising citizens and organisations to work towards the project aims. This paper presents research (pre- and post-project social network analysis and qualitative thematic analysis) that explores some of the impacts of this umbrella body. The social network analysis demonstrates positive changes in terms of developing a larger and more cohesive community network of people and organisations. The thematic analysis shows that organisations benefited from being involved in a range of ways, including networking opportunities, adding value to their existing work and being able to access and work with inspiring ideas from the community. In short, the research highlights the positive differences a small volunteer group can have upon a community when overtly embracing 'network thinking'.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1582-1601
    Number of pages20
    JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014


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