Community development and umbrella bodies: Networking for neighbourhood change

Gretchen Ennis, Deborah West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the application of a network approach within the context of a community development project in suburban Northern Australia which aimed to develop positive social connections across different cultural groups. A neighbourhood group facilitated by a social worker drew upon network approaches to community development and created an 'umbrella body' comprising citizens and organisations to work towards the project aims. This paper presents research (pre- and post-project social network analysis and qualitative thematic analysis) that explores some of the impacts of this umbrella body. The social network analysis demonstrates positive changes in terms of developing a larger and more cohesive community network of people and organisations. The thematic analysis shows that organisations benefited from being involved in a range of ways, including networking opportunities, adding value to their existing work and being able to access and work with inspiring ideas from the community. In short, the research highlights the positive differences a small volunteer group can have upon a community when overtly embracing 'network thinking'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1582-1601
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Community development
  • Networking
  • Social network analysis
  • Umbrella bodies


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