Community and the social core…

I joined this site recently, thanks to a contact on my blog because of an old post about Poverty and the Emerging Church.

‘Our Society’ is helping to join people together for good – to exchange ideas and information and encourage community action, and as such it seems like something to shine light and sprinkle salt on.

The site is focussed south of the border at present, so it would be great to get some Scottish participation.

Gavin Barker sent me this power point in relation to work he has been doing to map areas of social deprivation;

<div style=”width:425px” id=”__ss_11131652″> <strong style=”display:block;margin:12px 0 4px”><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/Gavman/imd-our-society&#8221; title=”Mapping deprivation and co-production” target=”_blank”>Mapping deprivation and co-production</a></strong>

The slides about the importance of connections and ‘social capital’ are very familiar, but the idea of a ‘social core’ was less so to me.

The measure of our societies depends to a large extent on the community activists at the heart of our towns, which Gavin describes as the ‘social core’ who tend to be

•Middle aged
•Have higher education qualifications
•Owner occupiers
•Actively practice their religion
•Have lived in the same neighbourhood for at least 10 years
•Over 60% of middle aged females would be counted as part of the civic core
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These folk will do 72% of the civic participation, 79% of the charitable giving and 87% of the voluntary hours.
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Gavin also talks about the ‘inner core’ – the 7.6% of the population who do 22%, 40% and 49% of the above.
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I would add to this (from a small town Scottish perspective) that these people are also often incomers- that is, migrants into the area, or ‘white settlers’ as they are disparagingly known.
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You could legitimately argue that the description of the social core above is simply those who can afford to spend time, money and energy on these things. Other people are caught up in surviving. However; whatever the reason, whatever the motivation, thank God for them, particularly in these times of disconnection and fragmentation.

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