Strafford County Community Development

Vibrant and strong NH communities provide safe and secure environments for NH families and their children.  Likewise, secure and stable families form the backbone of thriving NH communities.  Currently communities face unprecedented challenges as a result of reduced budgets and resources for educational, health, and human services.  An educated, healthy and engaged citizenry with children who are engaged in positive activities and successful in school are important assets to communities, providing a skilled workforce that attracts employers, volunteers who care about the community they live in and take actions to improve them, increased family well-being, fewer incidents of juvenile crimes and an increase in the social networks available throughout NH.

The Community Development team works to address the needs of NH communities in a variety of ways.

Community Coalition Technical Assistance and SupportDover aerial photo

Technical assistance and training is provided to coalitions working to address the complex issues communities are currently facing.  Through training and assistance in areas such as needs assessment, leadership, strategic planning, program development, and evaluation, communities can increase collaboration and expand their capacity to address the changing needs of their citizens.   

Outreach & Engagement

Outreach and engagement are important in the public participation process.  UNHCE workshops and training help communities design effective outreach plans and strategies to engage the public in community decision-making

 Community Needs Assessment

The first step in community development is community needs assessment. There are multiple ways a community can determine its needs in order to address local issues and challenges. UNHCE can work with you and your community to design a process so you can assess the needs in your local community. Community assessment techniques include key informant interviews, focus groups, public meetings, visioning sessions, asset mapping and more.  

Community Profile

The Community Profile is a process by which communities take stock of where they are today and develop an action plan for how they want to operate in the future. The process provides a method for citizens to affirm community strengths, find collaborative approaches to meet challenges creatively, and manage change. One of the major outcomes of the Community Profile is more citizen participation in the community and the affairs of its government.

As part of Community Profiles, UNH Cooperative Extension will:

  • Help form the community-based steering committee who manages all of the details of the event;
  • train community facilitators to manage small group work at the event;
  • facilitate community events where community interests and priorities are discussed;
  • provide follow-up for up to 1 year to the project/action groups formed as a result of the event.

For more information about community and economic development porgrams in Strafford County,  please contact Sue Cagle@unh.edu or call (603) 527-5475.