The daily work of a community development worker is engaging with local groups. This work can be a challenging process. In this chapter we explore the components of effective group work. Specifically, we look at how:

People join community groups to meet identified personal, family and community needs

Community groups take various forms, not all of which are enabling and empowering

All groups have their own life cycle and go through stages of ‘Forming’, ‘Storming’, ‘Norming’, ‘Performing’, ‘Mourning’ and ‘Reforming’

Community groups should identify their own learning needs

The key role for workers in community groups is facilitation

Workers need clarity about their own position in the group

There are critical questions community workers need to keep in mind to ensure good practice with groups

Community workers have a key role in facilitating the above processes. The group however, has to retain its independence and self-determination.