Community Capacity

One of the main aims of North Belfast Partnership is

"To promote a community development infrastructure that it responsive to the challenges of local governance and establishes a common agenda for North Belfast"

Community development is a long-term process whereby people who are marginalised or living in poverty work together to identify their needs, create change, exert more influence in the decisions which affect their lives and work to improve the quality of their lives, the communities in which they live, and the society of which they are part.

Social capital indicators have been reconstructed to form a three-stage process. Bonding social capital is taken to refer to the internal cohesion or connectedness within a community. Bridging refers to the levels and nature of contact and engagement between different communities. Linking represents the engagement and relations between community and voluntary organisations and resource agencies and policy makers.

However, research has shown that the level of community capacity varies greatly between the two main communities in North Belfast. Community Capacity can be defined as "the ability and will of people who live in a locality to act collectively for their common good". The general trend is for a weaker community infrastructure existing within the protestant communities. Developing community capacity will lead to communities taking greater ownership of their destiny and ultimately improving their collective life quality.