Talking recently with Hazel Lonsdale, CEO of Third Sector Services in Cheltenham, I was reminded of how important acronyms are in any sphere of work. Take ABCD for example. Is it the first four letter of the alphabet or (a bit more than) the lyrics of a very old song, or is it an exciting and relatively new approach to community development?
Or is it the emperor’s new clothes?
Either way it seems that it is having a positive impact locally and is raising the profile of community in a helpful way. Asset Based Community Development is a strength based approach rather than a needs based approach. Instead of waiting for someone else to come in and make improvements to the community, ABCD is about recognising that local communities do have the power and skills to make some changes themselves, even though they may need some external help. Helpfully it changes the focus from what people don’t have to what people do have. In the following interview Cormac Russell of Nurture Development in Ireland talks about how ABCD can empower local communities by taking a half full rather than half empty view of the community.
In 2011 the Barnwood Trust launched a ten year community based plan, “Unlocking Opportunities”, and there are now a number of projects and programmes running across Gloucestershire. Most relevant to this posting is the Community of Practice which brings together participants from the voluntary, community and public sectors in Gloucestershire. with the aim of looking at the strengths that already exist within the county and how they can be utilised and mobilised effectively.
It will be interesting to follow progress and to see how ABCD works locally. But do you have any experience of ABCD that we could learn from? Please let me know. Or join in the discussion on LinkedIn.