Exeter Community Forum | Community Builders

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Community Builders

Exeter Community Forum plans to invest in a team of community builders to work across the city.

Using the Community Organising approach as a model, they’ll work to:

  • Empower communities and harness the power of individuals to work together in shared self-interest.
  • Community Organising involves building relationships in communities, mobilising people to take action and supporting projects which make a difference to people’s lives.
  • Community organising creates social and political change through collective action. Community Organisers listen to what people want to see change in their lives and community and help them to achieve this, working in and through democratic structures.
  • Community Organisers have no agenda and do not lead or do things on behalf of people”, they help people to do things for themselves.

People have told us they don’t like being ‘organised’, so ECF plans to call these people Community Builders! But they will work to the same principles and approach.

Communities that are interested in a community builder to work with their community will be invited to make an Expression of Interest. Community Builders need not be employed by these communities, they will be employed by a ‘host’.

We will invite Host organisations to act as an employer and provide training and support to the network of community organisers across the city and work with communities. The programme will be open to expressions of interest in the autumn 2016.

To find out what Community Buiders about and about how to get involved,  Well Being Exeter & Exeter Community Forum have arranged a dinner and discussion event with Cormac Russell, a leading expert on asset based community development, to launch our Community Builders programme in Exeter.


6:00 – 8:00pm, Tuesday 13th December 2016
St Sidwell’s Community Centre
Over a ‘pot-luck’ dinner we’ll:

  •          Learn what asset based community development is all about,
  •          Talk about how this can benefit our communities – especially if there is a community builder working among us,
  •          Consider what our communities would be like if people were more engaged – the benefits and the challenges too!

A ‘pot-luck’ dinner? We’re inviting people help create and share in a communal meal. If you can, please bring a small dish of food to share with to others – the menu may be random, but our evening will consider what it’ll really mean for us to create the change we’re looking for in our communities.

Who’s invited: Each ECF member is invited to bring two participants – these may be Trustees, volunteers or members.
You might like to invite someone from another community organisation that you think would be interested in working with your organisation to support a Community Builder in your area.

Well Being Exeter, ECF and Exeter City Council will also invite some other organisations working with communities to join our discussions.


Local organisations are celebrating the launch of new funds to support community action across Exeter

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01 November 2016
Press Release for immediate use:

Community organisations are celebrating the launch of new funds to support community action across Exeter


Local organisations are celebrating the launch of new funds to support community action across the city. The Grass Roots Grants Fund is being launched by Exeter Community Forum and Exeter City Council and is expected to invest £3.7m over 10 years.

The fund has been set up from the levy developers pay towards infrastructure when houses are built. The money will enable communities to invest in projects and community assets, such as community halls, that make a real difference to a local area.

The launch of the Fund comes after two years of hard work by Exeter’s community organisations to put together a plan for strengthening communities to face the changes, challenges and opportunities of the Exeter’s growth over the next decade.

Diana Moore, Chair of the Exeter Community Forum, said, “These funds are a great start to putting our plan into action. They will be put to very good use by community organisations wanting to involve more people, provide valued services, renew community buildings and really consider how they can best work with other organisations to support and help local people.”

But it isn’t just money alone that will make the difference, Councillor Paul Bull, Portfolio Holder for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said, “It’s a really good time to get involved in your local community organisation. This money will have so much more impact  because the application process will recognise the dedication of those volunteers who help people feel safe and belong, provide help and practical support, get active and create pride in their neighbourhoods.”


Notes to editors:
The Grass Roots Grants programme round one will be open until the end of December 2016. The first round will consider applications for an overall grant pot of £50,000. There will be three grants rounds a year and information about the funds and how to apply can be found at www.exetercommunityforum.net.

Portfolio priorities for 2016/17

At the Annual Council meeting held on 17 May 2016 , I was appointed Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods.


Since then, I have been working on the priorities for the portfolio which I presented tonight at People Scrutiny Committee.


At the meeting, I highlighted the following areas:-

  • further development of the Exeter Community Forum, with the Grants Panel to be operational by Autumn. The City Council Executive maintained ultimate authority on awarding grants;
  • work in conjunction with ICE and Exeter City Futures to utilise the talents that can be found in Exeter’s communities;
  • exploration of how Asset Based Community Development could be introduced across the Council following on from seminars for Senior Councillors and Officers and partners facilitated by Cormac Russell;
  • implementation of the Council’s Equality and Diversity policy
  • renewal of Exeter’s Fairtrade City Status
  • increasing the profile for dementia awareness

I also advised that the first meeting on developing Youth Strategy for Exeter had been held in response to an Exeter Board’s recommendation , and that I would meet with the Portfolio Holder for Customer Access to agree on further progressing the ICE project.

These priorities would be published in the Council’s Corporate Plan 2016/17.