Community Links

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Out of the Ordinary

Out of the Ordinary

A short study by Community Links founder David Robinson explains the Community Links approach to local social regeneration.

Drawing on the 33 years experience of Community Links staff, service users, and partners, the study shows how the quality of the user experience at Community Links is determined by the expectations that we hold for the behaviours of our staff and the qualities that we develop in the places where they work.

The book concludes with a set of recomendations to government for sustaining, developing and replicating the Community Links model. Collectively these would do more than contribute to the reform of public services. They would transform them.

This book is published without a cover price. In an ‘Out of the Ordinary’ approach to charging we trust our readers to have a look at the contents, evaluate it for themselves and send us what they think the book is worth to them. Money received will be used to continue sharing the lessons of what we have achieved in east London.
Publication date October 19th 2010

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Responses to Out of the Ordinary

Out of the Ordinary is the story of Community Links at its absolute best. Using the example of Rokeby Hub, this book shares their practical, on-the-ground learning and experience through their relationships with the communities they serve. It then expands this real world knowledge of what genuinely makes a difference into policy and funding recommendations that will genuinely transform our communities and society for the better. I commend this book for anyone who is serious about making a sustainable positive difference in social change.
Professor Alex Linley, Director, Capp

Timely and to the point, with stimulating real life examples and pertinent ideas for funders – real food for thought. And a good read!
Nicola Pollock, Director of grant-making, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation


In this powerful little book David Robinson shows clearly how Community Links’ success is rooted in authenticity – authentic relations at the community level and the holistic embrace of a set of clearly described principles. The book is a challenge to practitioners and policy makers – it shows us how we might realistically transform public services today.
Hilary Cottam, Principal Partner at Participle


Community Links really is Out of the Ordinary; I have known and respected Community Links for many years and see it more as an institution than an organisation – modelling a whole new way of working that really does build on the talent, inspiration and know-how of residents, visitors, users and staff alike. This approach injects hope and aspiration into communities the state has traditionally failed. Put simply, this has changed the lives of many who have come into contact with Links.
Ben Hughes, Chief Executive, bassac


Voluntary bodies like Community Links have a vital role in preserving an approach which draws together people with different needs, but from a common neighbourhood. In serving that neighbourhood all can find fulfilment. We want a thousand voluntary bodies which reflect the approach of Community Links.
Bob Holman, author and community worker


It is characteristically generous and radical of David Robinson and Community Links that Out of the Ordinary, David's exceptional compendium of wisdom about social regeneration drawn from over 30 years of experience, is offered up freely to ‘our readers to send us what they think it is worth to them.’ My view is that what is offered is priceless.
Paul Twivy, Chief Executive, The Big Society Network


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