Community Development Practice Hub

Community Development Practice Hub

The Community Development Practice Hub is a resource for people and organisations who ‘work with’ people in Birmingham so they can take collective action to make changes to things that are important to them and their communities. 

We aim to connect, inspire and upskill community development practitioners across Birmingham.

Come join us on this exciting journey, as we collaborate with the sector to offer a tailored approach with a focus on Birmingham-specific learning, challenges, and achievements.  

St Martin's Church has always been more than just a place of worship. It has acted as a hub for social community work. Approximately seven years ago, the members of the community expressed a collective desire for a Tea Dance. The idea was met with enthusiasm: china crockery from Charity Shops and funding from the National Lottery were sourced, and a dance teacher was brought in to lead the dancing.

However, in 2019, it was realized that this approach lacked the essence of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) practices. It was then that a shift began to take place. Debbie, the Community Development Practitioner for St Martin’s Social Care Project recognised the need for a more inclusive and empowering approach to the Tea Dances but it was not until the post COVID era that the community truly began to take on a greater role.

Due to the Covid restrictions, people could no longer dance together so Ballroom Dancing was out and Line Dancing came in. More and more local community members, who were already engaged in other activities at the church, began to join in the Tea Dances. Participants stepped up to make it happen: two, who were line dancers, taught the dances, one participant helped set up the tables, three other prepared all the sandwiches, two prepared the pots of tea, and one signed people in. Completely participant led!

The strong sense of community fostered by St Martin’s Social Care Project allowed the Tea Dances to become a powerful connector. It brought together individuals from different walks of life, inviting them to explore the joy of dance and forge meaningful connections. The popularity of the classes grew, and as a result, people from further afield started attending.

Although based in Perry Common, individuals now travelled from surrounding areas such as Kingstanding, Erdington, Stockland Green, Perry Barr and even Sutton Coldfield. The impact of the Tea Dances extended beyond just learning the steps, eating sandwiches, and drinking tea; it became a force that united communities, transcending geographical boundaries as well as building friendships and relationships they could take back out into the community.

The desire of St Martin's Church to be more than just a place of worship and offering a space that nurtures the well-being and social cohesion of its community is a central part of their ministry, and becomes a reality through the power of collective vision and action. Together, the Church and community through the Social Care Project, have created a vibrant and inclusive environment where people from all backgrounds can come together, celebrate, and dance as one. 

Contact details

Email: [email protected]