by Kerry Logan
What does a day in the life of a new Community Development Officer entail? That’s not the easiest question to answer!
I think I would need to describe five days to begin to paint a full picture and even then I wouldn’t be doing justice to the variety of work involved in my new role. However, it is the variety that I love. From meeting community groups and hearing about their projects, to co-ordinating Estate Inspections and Inter-Agency Meetings in partnership with the Housing Executive so that issues arising in local communities are addressed, to supporting Groups with good governance or funding applications; it is fair to say no two days are the same but that each is rich in relationship building and learning.
Indeed, the highlight of my first four months has been getting to know and learn from the community groups I work with. The projects they run are innovative and varied such as intergenerational projects bringing together dementia sufferers and their young neighbours, re-imaging projects giving residents the opportunity to design their own murals, and projects empowering young people previously involved in ASB to be the young leaders they are. The wealth of expertise these groups have with regards to their communities and the issues they face, alongside their creative solutions and deep commitment to seeing change, make it a privilege to work with, learn from and support them.
Another thing each day involves is a lot of questions!
In my first week, I was flooded with emails and calls from members of staff welcoming me to my new role and offering any help I might need. Four months in and I am still constantly lifting the phone or sending emails to seek advice and I am so thankful for how willing my colleagues are to go above and beyond to share their expertise and experience with me, ensuring I am supported in my role so that I, in turn, can support my community groups.
So, what does a day in the life of a new Community Development Officer entail? Well, it involves relationship building, it involves supporting and being supported, it involves listening, problem-solving and teamwork and it involves a huge amount of rich learning for which I am deeply grateful.