CED Jargon Busters

This glossary is derived from a wide range of sources. In particular, thank you to Senscot and Local People Leading websites that provided a basis for a number of the key definitions.

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)

ABCD is at the centre of a large and growing movement that considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local residents, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions, asset-based community development draws upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future. (For information on physical assets, see sections on community controlled assets and asset transfer).

Active citizenship

Citizens taking opportunities to become actively involved in defining and tackling the problems of their communities and improving their quality of life.

Added value

Describes the benefits a business or organisation provides in terms of its social and environmental impact to the community.

Asset Transfer

The transfer of land and/or building assets from statutory and other public agencies to independent, community based, not for profit organisations. This is focused on the contribution asset transfer can make to a wide range of social and economic policy objectives – at national, regional and local level.

Capacity building

Activities, resources and support that strengthen the skills, abilities and confidence of people and community groups to take effective action, and leading roles, in the development of their communities.

Civil renewal

The renewal of civil society through the development of strong, active and empowered communities, in which people are able to do things for themselves, define the problems they face, and tackle them in partnership with public bodies. Civil renewal involves three essential elements: active citizenship, strengthened communities and partnership in meeting public needs.


A community is a specific group of people who all hold something in common. Community has tended to be associated with two key aspects: firstly people who share locality or geographical place (place-based); secondly people who are communities of interest. Communities of interest are groups of people who share an identity – for example people of Pacific origin or lesbian and gay people, or those who share an experience or cause – for example the homeless or those campaigning on a health issue.

Community anchor organisations

A community based organisation that is controlled by local residents; has the capacity to grow and coordinate action to meet the needs of the neighbourhood in a holistic way; is committed to the involvement of all sections of their community and has widespread support from local people. Community anchors typically work towards increasing financial independence through the development of community enterprises and assets.

Community cohesion

Community cohesion describes a situation where there is a common vision and a sense of belonging; the diversity of people’s different backgrounds and circumstances is positively valued; people from different backgrounds have similar life opportunities and strong and positive relationships are being developed between people from different backgrounds in the workplace, in schools and within neighbourhoods.

Community centres

Community buildings for hire or use by local residents. These range from purpose built community centres with various rooms and different activities to smaller local community clubrooms with one room. May be council managed or independent /run by voluntary management committees.

Community controlled assets

Management or ownership of land/buildings by community organizations. Ownership of physical assets contributes to financial sustainability and can be leveraged against for accessing finance for community enterprise development.

Community empowerment

is the state of affairs that exists when members of a community feel empowered to achieve their self-determined goals, with some measure of significant control over the processes, strategies, resources, enterprises and assets to attain these.

Community engagement

Community engagement is a term that refers to how stakeholders in communities are engaged in determining their needs and/or ways of addressing these, particularly by those in a position to facilitate this by way of funding and/or other measures of assistance (eg. government agencies).

Community sector

The web of personal relationships, groups, networks, traditions and patterns of behaviour that exist amongst those who share physical neighbourhoods, socioeconomic conditions or common understandings and interests. The community sector ranges from small informal community groups to large multi-purpose community organisations. The community sector covers the entire range of policy and services. Its activities can range from nurseries and playgroups to community centres, from tenants’ associations to environmental groups, from arts and sports groups to credit unions, and from self help groups to scout groups. Key characteristics are that they are organisations that do not distribute profits for private gain and are independent/managed by voluntary management committees. Many community organisations are registered charities.

Community shares

Community shares are a way of raising money from communities through the sale of shares or bonds in order to finance enterprises serving a community purpose. Unlike charitable fundraising, community investors can get their money back, and many also receive interest or dividends on the money they invest.

Community economic development

This term is used to describe a range of economic activity at a community level. Peter Kenyon describes it as “A sustained and untied effort by the whole community to improve their local economy and quality of life by building their capacity to adapt and benefit from global economic changes…..Local people taking responsibility for their economic future”

Community enterprise

A social enterprise or initiative that is run by and for the benefit of a community .

Community ownership of assets

Community ownership and management of assets such as land, buildings and other infrastructure helps to develop strong and independent communities. Community ownership of assets enhances economic opportunities at a local level and can lead to communities becoming financially self sufficient (or at least less dependent on grant support) Assets which incorporate social and cultural activities, such as arts centres and village halls, are particularly important to community life.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

This concept is based on the belief that private sector organisations have an obligation to consider the interests of customers, employees, shareholders, communities, and other ecological considerations in all aspects of their operations. This obligation is seen to extend beyond their statutory obligation to comply with legislation and generally manifests itself in a wide range of activities which are outwith those normally associated with generating profits for the enterprise.

Cultural planning

A creative methodology that enables community empowerment through utilizing culture (as defined by local people) as the driver for a strengths based, collaborative and creative approach to regenerate local communities. Often involves participation of local artists and/or artists residencies in communities.

Development trusts

Development trusts are a UK concept that describe community-run organisations that are owned and managed by the local community; aim to achieve the sustainable regeneration of a community and therefore are concerned with the economic, social and environmental and cultural needs of their community; aim to generate income through trading activity that enables them to move away from dependency on grant support; are independent but seek to work in partnership with other private and public sector organizations. All trading surpluses are principally reinvested in the organisation or community.

Double devolution

Devolution that takes power from central government and gives it to local government and from local government down to local people, providing a critical role for individuals and neighbourhoods

Faith communities

A faith-based community is a community of people adhering to the same religion or belief system with a set of common values that underpin how they function such as social justice and equity. These groups can contribute to the whole range of community involvement, from membership of strategic organisations to small-scale project work at neighbourhood level.


Localism is a concept that involves devolving more power to local communities and, in the process, forging a modern relationship between the state, citizens and services. There are three main elements that provide the foundation for new localism:
• building capacity at local level to deliver better services and provide effective community leadership
• devolving power to councils and giving additional freedom to meet local needs
• providing national standards and accountability for high quality services

Meanwhile use

Meanwhile use describes the concept that vacant shops and other town centre properties can, and should, be used in a way that benefits the area, the local community, the local authority, and the landlord, until such a time that they can be used for commercial purposes again.

Patient capital

The characteristics of patient capital fall somewhere between grants and loans. It is similar to a loan but is usually longer-term with interest and repayment holidays. In certain circumstances only a percentage of the loan may need to be repaid.


This is the process used by the public sector to obtain goods, services and capital projects from third parties. Social enterprises are increasingly accessing contract or service level agreement opportunities with local authorities to deliver public services whilst adding value through the creation of employment for local people and the re investment of any surpluses in the community.


This term is used to refer to the lasting transformation for the betterment of places and communities, often referred to as urban regeneration. At one time this term mostly related to environmental improvements but now extends to economic, social and environmental.

Social Capital

Social Capital has been defined as “features of social life -networks, norms and trust – that enable people to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives.”

Social economy

The social economy is made up of those organisations from the voluntary and community sector that generate income through trading. Social economy organisations are independent of the state, have primarily social objectives and their surpluses are reinvested for that purpose.

Social exclusion

This is what can happen when a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, unfair discrimination, racism, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown lead to people or places being excluded from the outcomes and opportunities enjoyed by mainstream society

Social enterprise

Social enterprises are businesses that trade for a social purpose. There are numerous definitions of social enterprise throughout the world and it is a much contested term. Social enterprises usually have the following characteristics:
• explicit social aims
• commercial orientation
• social ownership
• social accountability
• socially entrepreneurial drive
• use of profits for community benefit

Social finance

Social finance includes finance and investment from non-traditional sources, with terms that are customised to meet the needs of community organisations.

Social firms

Social firms are businesses developed to provide employment opportunities for people with a disability or other disadvantage in the labour market.

Social investment

Social investment is used to describe investment that is focused on social return rather than financial return. It is a relatively new term but is becoming better known for describing the type of investment organisations are looking for as they move away from grant aid.

Social lending

Social lending is the provision of loans and investment to social enterprises. Social lending is a distinctive arrangement that sits between commercial loans and investment and charitable grants and donations.

Social-to-social business

Social-to-social business describes trading between non-profit distributing organisations such as social enterprises and community organisations.

Social housing

Social housing is management/ ownership of housing stock by community organisations to provide affordable quality housing for local people. It can range from emergency housing to long-term housing for older people or for people with special needs.

Sustainable development

Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come.

Time banking

Time banking describes a reciprocal service exchange that operates in local communities where the unit of currency is one hour of time and the “time” one spends providing community services earns “time” that one can spend to receive other services.