Our community ! Understanding communities ! Dysfunctional communities
Characteristics of a community ! Characteristics of an institution
Building better communitiesAn alternative model ! Cartoons

The role of the gatekeeper in the community


The gatekeeper

The gatecrasher

The gatekeeper:
The gatekeeper: (http://www.answers.com/topic/gatekeeper)

"1.  One that is in charge of passage through a gate.
2. One who monitors or oversees the actions of others.
3. A primary-care provider, often in the setting of a managed-care organization, who coordinates patient care and provides referrals to specialists, hospitals, laboratories, and other medical services."

In all communities there is some form of leadership, hierarchical structure or mechanism that:

... Provides the structure of the community
... Provides direction for the community
... Is designed to protect the members
... Is accountable to the community

The gatecrasher:
Gate-crasher: (http://www.yourdictionary.com/gate-crasher)
"Informal: a person who attends a social affair without an invitation or attends a performance, etc. without paying admission"

Any person or group that tries to gain admittance without an invitation, approval or sanction risks being removed. Communities are no different in this respect. Any person that tries to force their presence in a community risks eviction.

The definition also states that there is a price to pay:
... Some form of currency or value needs to be offered in exchange for admission.
... Often people bring skills and resources that are valued within the community.
... There is a value in the person becoming a part of the community
... There is some form of negotiation between the gate-crasher and the community
... There may be some form of rite of passage or pass that entitles the holder to free admission

Where a person does not have any skills or resources to bring to the community:
... An organisation or service provider acts as a negotiator or a link in introducing the gate-crasher to the community
... SRV is an important strategy in creating a valued role for the person
... The community may accept the person through familiarity, understanding and accepting the person.
... The community may accept the person by providing a valued role for its members in supporting the person.

A group of cyclists, for example may be riding along a road in a park. Along comes a person on a motorcycle and wants to join the group. The group may allow the person entry if known to others or there is some value in the motorcyclist being a part of the group, or may call (mobile phone) the police or security to have the person removed.

Communities are no different. If a person is known to others, has something of value for the members, or is able to negotiate entry, the person will be accepted into the community and become a part of the community. If the person is not accepted, he/she will be ignored, asked to leave or forcefully removed.

When providing the most appropriate care for people with high support needs ...
1) The community is not where the person is living, but where the person participates, shares experiences and has valued relationships with others.
2) People with high support needs (severe disability, aged etc.) will always need support structures as a part of their lives.
3) The amount of participation in a community (living, education, employment or recreation) is directly related to the skills and resources of the person, and, the skills and resources of the community that the person wishes to participate in.
4) Institutions are going to be around in one form or another whether we like it or not, It is the way that they are used that is the problem.
5) The institutions of a society towards a particular group determine the way the group participates in society.
6) The institutions of a particular government department, organisation, profession or service define the way the person is supported within that society.
7) Facilities that support people with high support needs do not need to be the nursing homes or prisons in the sense that they are today, but can become warm inviting community places that offer a range of services to the community, as well as be a part of the wider community within that society.
8) People with high support needs are a minority group in our society, and will have the same problems as other minority groups in being a part of society.

Peter Anderson