Needs and Opportunities

Responding to a pre-determined need or opportunity that provides a focal point

It is often the case that communities will come together when a specific challenge or opportunity presents itself (for example the threat of losing an important service, or an opportunity to generate income for community benefit through a local asset, such as renewables).

In this case the ‘what’ is already identified. It is important to then consider options for enterprising solutions. The Enterprise Assessment Tool provides an opportunity to review the issue or opportunity and consider options to develop social enterprise approaches as a response. The focus of any engagement should then be to develop a plan in order to address the need or respond to the opportunity.


Identifying Needs and Opportunities

Identifying needs and opportunities is an important first stage in bringing together a plan if there is not already a pre-determined focal point. Gathering feedback on issues and opportunities can be done in a number of ways. A community survey is an effective method of gathering a range of ideas and perspectives. This provides a framework allowing the wider community to feed in their priority needs and aspirations.

Photos showing the ‘identifying needs and opportunities’ material being used in Romania.

With continued collective community engagement, people taking part can be given a voice about how they wish the information gathering to be carried out. When approaching your needs and aspirations, it is important to consider how social enterprise solutions may be developed to address these. Encouraging a focus on this aspect from an early stage can help stimulate ideas and identify assets, which may not otherwise have been recognised.

The community toolkit provides an overview of thinking about the types of survey questions to ask and different methods of asking. Together as a group you should develop a research question and plan. Consider what, why, and who it might involve, and be aware of the resources available to you, including existing groups or networks, and the skills and expertise of local people. This link provides a background to community-led action research.


Continue to page 2 for ‘Methods for Gathering Feedback’…

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