Asset Based Community Development

Strengthening our Communities

An important challenge for the Essex Local Delivery Pilot (ELDP) from the start was supporting communities to use physical activity to become more connected, resilient, and healthier. A partnership with Nurture Development in 2019 was the catalyst for major growth in the understanding and use of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), and this has continued to flourish ever since.

ABCD is not a model, it is a movement that recognises the failure of external experts using top-down methods to ‘fix communities’. Instead, ABCD recognises that the answers to fulfilling community aspirations, lies with local residents working together to use their skills and energy to achieve what really matters to them.

ABCD focuses on what is STRONG, not what is WRONG. There are many assets in communities that are strong, most importantly the local residents, but also parks, green spaces, buildings, community groups and clubs, and partners from the public, private and third sectors. ABCD truly allows the ELDP to understand these local places and communities.

Group 2
Who’s it for?
Applying and understanding that ABCD is for everyone
LDP Prime
Prime Objective:
to use physical activity through a citizen-led approach to strengthen communities
LDP Second
Second Objective:
to change the culture of organisations and apply ABCD ways of working

ABCD is reaching an exciting point in time across Essex and looking to the future, Active Essex continue to believe that real power and strength lie within communities and that as a system, communities must be viewed this way. As a result, Active Essex are embarking on a journey, which focuses on generating system change through Essex based community development workshops. Creating a network of passionate people and organisations that work together collaboratively will help unlock local assets and gifts that already exist.

Thanks to the support from Nurture Development, 12 ABCD ‘Guides’ from a wide range of partners across Essex have been trained and will become a big part of the journey going forward. ABCD Guides will be facilitating their own courses, sharing the knowledge and ideas of the ABCD way of working that Nurture Development has so brilliantly captured. By adding an Essex mark on the courses, bespoke delivery and engaging stories and ideas will hopefully inspire organisations and Active Essex partners across Essex, to continue to develop their use of ABCD as a valuable way of working in the system.

people attended the ABCD courses
of residents have built relationships through the ABCD approach
of residents feel a sense of ownership as a result.
The asset-based community development training has been transformative in shaping my perspective and empowering me to inspire others to think differently about communities. Through this training, I've learnt to recognize and leverage the inherent strengths and resources within communities, fostering a mindset shift from deficit-focused to asset-focused approaches. This has not only enabled me to view communities as reservoirs of untapped potential, but has also equipped me with the tools to encourage others to do the same. By understanding the unique assets that communities possess, we can collectively work towards residents having a greater say in the decisions that affect their lives.
Simon King - Alliance Programme Manager, Mid Essex Alliance

The status and application of ABCD is growing rapidly across Essex, which is a significant achievement for the ELDP. A new Essex ABCD Institute will open this year, led by The Active Essex Foundation, and will provide a wide range of training, mentoring, and advice in ABCD across Essex.