‘Tis the season, but what do you get the community development worker who has it all? One of these books might do the job…

You might think the community development worker in your life already knows all there is to know. The truth is, there’s always more to learn. That’s why, this Christmas, the best gift might just be a book that covers new ground, or revisits old ground from a new perspective.

Here, we’ve gathered some of the best releases from this year, taking all the work out of finding that last minute gift.

And don’t forget, if you’re the community development worker in your life, there’s nothing stopping you from buying one of these for yourself.

The Local Food Project, Lisa Fingleton

Cover of The Local Food Project, Lisa FingletonAbout the author

Lisa Fingleton is a film-maker, artist, farmer, development worker and musician. She lives in Kerry, but originally hails from Laois.

What’s it about?

Marketed as “an inspiring book about the power of eating local food,” it’s also honest about the discomfort of trying to live only on fresh, locally-produced food.

During a 30-day food adventure that involved cutting out any food that wasn’t produced naturally in Ireland, Lisa wrote about what she learned. This is the first time she has gathered all her thoughts, diary entries and photographs from the exercise together in book format.

It was published last month, just in time for Christmas stockings!

What are people saying about it?

It’s just been published, but a short film Lisa produced on the same subject went down a treat.

What’s to like about it?

It’s colourful, and an easy read. It makes important points about subjects many of us don’t like to think about, and is a wake-up call for Ireland. There are plenty of photos.

Note: At just 62 pages, this is somewhere between a booklet and a book; it’s as much a pictorial account as a textbook.

Buy The Local Food Project online for €13 (including postage), or email lisafingleton@gmail.com to get your copy.

The Enterprising Community: A bottom-up perspective on the capacity within communities to regenerate, Senan Cooke

The Enterprising Community cover

About the author

Senan Cooke commands respect among his peers as an old hand on social enterprise and community development. He put his life’s learning into this book.

Senan hurled for Kilkenny in his youth, and now lives in Dunhill, Co Waterford, with his wife, Helen.

What’s it about?

Setting up social enterprises, creating jobs in communities and rekindling the fire.

What are people saying about it?

It comes VIP-recommended. Everyone from hurling legends to senior politicians to development workers likes it.

What’s to like about it?

It has academic backing, yet it is easy to read (helped, of course, by plenty of colourful pictures). Senan has managed to turn a 304-page how-to guide into a damn fine read. Every page gets you thinking.

How often does a good read come along for people in Ireland involved in community work and volunteering? This is a book that is unlikely to be surpassed in its field for some time.

Note: The author looked at pre-existing communities. Cloughjordan’s eco-village does not feature.

Buy The Enterprising Community for €20 by emailing theenterprisingcommunity@gmail.com or by phoning in your order to Senan on 087 222 8374.

It’s Written in Concrete, Seamus Kelly

It's Written in Concrete coverAbout the author

Seamus Kelly is a veteran local journalist, whose beat included Ballymun at a time when most national and regional outlets where painting the Dublin suburb in a negative light.

In 1998, Seamus started newsletter-turned-newspaper Ballymun Concrete News to portray a more sensitive and positive view of Ballymun.

What’s it about?

Overcoming adversity and the media’s negative portrayal of Ballymun.

This is Seamus’s story of what it’s like to run a newspaper from the 10th floor of a tower block that most outsiders would be afraid to even look at. It puts it up to the media to be positive and it tells Ballymun’s history from the inside.

What are people saying about it?

“I remember being featured in Ballymun Concrete News. It was great to support Aslan and other local bands in the area.” – Christy Dignam.

“In writing this book, Seamus wants to create a debate around the subject of positive news. The debate has started.” – retired Garda Chief Superintendent Karl Heller.

What’s to like about it?

The book is written by a seasoned journalist. It gives a fresh and positive insight into Ballymun life, and features 40 pages (out of 162) of colourful photos.

Buy It’s Written in Concrete for €14.99 online from www.themanuscriptpublisher.com or in local bookstores in Dublin (including Easons stores). The book is also available in all public libraries across Dublin.

Main photo: Debby Hudson/Unsplash