Community Connections community development workers coordinate Neighbourhood Development Community Partnerships (NCDPs) in each quadrant of Lewisham. The NCDPs all meet the same structural aims: bringing community and statutory resources together, sharing views on areas of need and collaboratively using the NCDP forums to address them
In 2017-2018, the NCDPs brought together 170 community groups, with 296 different individuals participating in meetings.
Each neighbourhood developed its own plan through identifying local priorities and mapping community assets. Local voluntary-sector groups bid for LBL Public Health funding, and NCDPs used a participatory budgeting approach to communally allocate the funds, strengthening local assets to better address local priorities. Because the neighbourhoods are unique each NCDP grew in very different ways.
In the north of the borough, previous council-led programmes had already built a strong community sector in two of the wards. Community groups used the NCDP as a platform to share this knowledge and skill set with groups in the two wards who had not previously benefited from these initiatives. Community groups in all four wards came together to create a partnership of seven projects built on individual expertise of each group.
In the central area, the NCDP was used to bring in small voluntary-sector groups who have not been reached by the council’s traditional methods of outreach. Membership in the NCDP grew largely by word of mouth to include 47 new community groups over the course of the year, primarily those focused on supporting BME and other minority communities.
The southwest of the borough historically has fewer community sector organisations, which find themselves stretched and unable to invest time or resources into growing to support the increasing need of the area. The NCDP members used the LBL Public Health funding as an opportunity to create a volunteer coordinator post, shared across the neighbourhood’s voluntary sector, to increase capacity in the community sector.
The southeast of the borough had a similarly collaborative approach, in which a local leisure centre used its transportation resources to increase access to six locally-based exercise groups. These groups had not previously worked together, and the joined-up approach increased membership and accessibility to all six groups. The NCDP members allocated LBL Public Health funding to the leisure centre to increase staff hours and minibus use, enabling this growth.