! Understanding communities
Dysfunctional communities !
disability service organisations ! An
alternative model ! Community
research ! Community survey
Values form the basic premise and motivation in any human endeavour. We
do something because we find value in, or attach a positive value on
the activity or the outcome of the activity. Conversely, we do not do
something because there is no value in the activity, or the outcome of
the activity is negatively valued. The idea of values is purely
personal in their conception and execution. However, these values come
from somewhere. They may come from our parents, family, peer group, the
community or the society that we live in. They also come from our
experiences. Values are also based in knowledge and understanding of
the world around us. They are also based in ignorance, myths and
legends. They are also based in culture and history. Values determine
how we interact with others and the world around us. We consciously and
unconsciously make value judgements about ourselves and others around
sense and are
determined by a number of factors. The values that we assign ourselves,
others and objects are determined by our feelings, the activity, who
are we doing it with, the setting, our expectations and the
expectations of others in
the activity etc. Wolfensberger describes values as
being of three types; Idealised,
Norm-linked and Operational (high
order, medium order and low order) (Diligio:
Social Role Valorization - Understanding SRV P.36
participating in any activity, our values are
directly related to the activity and others within the activity. We
often see a conflict of these high order values that SRV refers to when
trying to implement them in our normal activities. We may value freedom
and the preservation of human life, but how often do we kill others in
the quest for freedom. One person may value happiness as a high order
value and wealth as a low order value, while another may value wealth
as a high order value and happiness as a low order value. We may
value/devalue the person in their role
(teacher, artist, politician,
policeman etc.) and devalue/value the person as a person.
sense are determined by our
relationships with others within the community ...
... what are the preconceptions that we
have of the other person?
... what are the expectations that we may have of the other person?
... how do we relate to the person?
... how do they relate to us?
... what are the similarities and differences in the relationship?
... how we see our own role.
... how we see the roles of others and how
we relate to those roles.
... how others see our role and how they
relate to the role.
The value that is placed on the role
could be positive or negative
depending on ...
the activity within the community
the setting within the community
our relationships to the other members of the community.
there are a set of values that we use in these associations ...
do we value one thing or another?
what is the value placed on something over something else?
what happens when something happens that does not fit into our set
Any interaction with others and the world around us involve
relationships on many different levels. Three broad levels are: 1)
Social, 2) Personal and 3) Intimate. All involve an exchange of ideas
and feelings about ourselves and the others within the relationship.
While relationships may vary according to the activity and the setting,
and the others within the activity and the setting., they can be
described as four distinct types:
Loss of identity, loss of autonomy, can not function outside the
relationship. Can not provide for their own needs.
Autonomous, self-directed, self-governing. Does not rely on direction
or help from others in the relationship. Is not bound by others. No
No shareing or careing.
Mutually dependent. There is a sense of the members being unable to
function without the presence of the others within the relationship.
All ideas and feelings come from within the relationship. Nothing comes
Members in the relationship bring their
own skills and resources into the relationship. They support each other
while not being dependent on each other,
Shareing and careing.
Rarely does any relationship consist of one type, but may move from one
type to another according to the needs of one or more members at a
particular time. When one member is sick, away or involved with
something else, the whole dynamics of the relationship changes.
Values and relationships:
Values and relationships are more than the skills or resources that we
have. They are about caring and sharing. They are about feelings and
experiences with each other. They are about understanding each other
and looking past any differences we may have.
Nigel Brooks (Building
Strong Relationships - Four Stages of Development, Four Phases of
) suggests there are 4 stages in a business relationship:
- getting to know each other
* Divergence - differing opinions, disagreement, and doubt
* Convergence - reconcilement, acceptance, and agreement
* Association - performing collaboratively or cooperatively
the relationship can migrate to
back to the divergence phase at any time.
Building blocks towards building values and relationships
... Respect for the other person
... Understanding the other person's point of view
... Sharing experiences
Building community networks and relationships:
There is no magic formula, things do not mysteriously happen. Community
participation and inclusion is about the person and the community and
building networks and relationships, and supporting those networks and
relationships, where the person
participates in and is a part of
Its no good being a part of a community
when you can't access the community.
Communication between members
Its no good being a part of a community
when you can't communicate with others, or they can't communicate with
Build a profile of yourself within the
community so that others know you and have the opportunity to find some
Understand the community. What are the
activities, values etc. of the community. Find some ways where your
involvement contributes to the community.
Above all else
Be yourself. Be genuine, honest. If
your are not accepted in the
community, then that community is not for you.
Be careful. By understanding the community and its members, we have
the opportunity to avoid communities and situations that are not
People who do not have the skills and resources to build and maintain
their networks are disadvantaged in that they no not have the
opportunity to become a part of any community.
SRV is an important strategy in developing
networks and relationships.
Often the person needs some training in some skills (life skills etc.)
so the person can participate.
Community development. By encouraging the community through various
strategies (ownership, providing the skills and resources, providing a
for the members in
A good place to start is with a Local Community Group that has
connections with various local clubs and social groups. Strategies can
be found where a person can be introduced into the particular activity
that most suits his/her needs.
participation and inclusion:
participation is about the community participating in the activities of
football club, for example, has a strong supporter base.
community of the football club is not only the facilities, players and
also the supporters. The
football club has a valued role in the
community and the
players and members feel a strong sense of purpose and connection with
each other, the club, as well as the wider community. Now imagine that
a severe disability was a part of that community, and was supported
(through various strategies) by that community in the activities of the
community. The person may live in
a community of a service provider, or the wider community (a community
home, facility, hostel, special home etc.) with other disabled
people. Through the development of
a valued role as well as having the
resources, within the
football club community, the person
the opportunity to become connected with that community.
Alternatively, if I go to a football match with some valued friends, I
am temporarily a part
of the football community. I may know some of the others there and have
conversations with them. The community that I feel a part of may be my
friends and I have no real connection with the others participating in
the activity (the players or the others watching the game).
I could also be a strong supporter of one of the teams and feel
a part of that community. The value I place on the others participating
in the activity would depend on which side they supported (friend or
foe) and their role in the activity (may
umpire etc.). Through the
principles of SRV the person may
be treated with respect and consideration and valued as a spectator or
the game (his/her role), however, the
that he/she is a part
determined by his/her connections (shared experiences and valued
relationships), rather than the physical presence within the community.
idea of community is a powerful one, but there is more than one model
and for this reason and others, many ways to help develop community
the end of the day, it is a question of how we choose to identify
whether, as groups and individuals, we feel we belong. Not all
communities are constructed
around places, but many of them are, although sometimes the place in
is the one we have left behind. But the notion of community spirit
places is still important, for the places we inhabit us. For this
reason, the final conclusion here is that the Department for Victorian
Communities might consider extending its activities to work with other
agencies on place-making, on understanding the links between local
economies and local identity, and in promoting public forms of social
life in the urban public realm."
PLACE AND BUILDINGS - The Role of Community Facilities in Developing
Community Spirit - End note)
By providing valued community roles
(active role, ownership, SRV etc.)
at each level of participation, the person then has the opportunity to
become a valued member of each respective community that the person
participates in, i.e.: the community of the service provider,
recreational community, educational community or employment community
"Community Participation and Inclusion.
Living in the community does not necessarily mean being included and
automatically leading a participatory life. People can live very
isolated and segregated lives, simply by having a presence in the
community without involvement.
Special Services for people with a disability can further promote their
isolation, exclusion and devalued status. The CLP believes that
inclusion means to be part of, contribute to and be involved in all the
same activities, at the same places, and right beside, all other
Project (CLP) - SA)