Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is a way of working with people and communities that starts with what is STRONG not what is WRONG.
Leeds City Council is working with local and community led organisations to embed the innovative ABCD model. Piloting the ABCD model with 3 third sector organisations in 2015, then expanding to 12 'ABCD Pathfinder sites' in 2019 to 14 sites in 2022.
Each Pathfinder site has an employed Community Builder who discovers ‘Community Connectors’ - people who are active in community life and bring others together. ‘Small Sparks’ grants are available to community groups to help them kickstart their ideas.
Traditional approaches to working in communities have tended to be 'top-down' interventions by outside agencies to resolve problems like poor housing, high unemployment, high crime rates, low education attainment, etc. Third sector organisations proliferate with time-limited funding to offer services to their 'service users'.
Starting with what is strong rather than what is wrong, with what is present not what is lacking, Asset-Based Community Development asks different questions:
What is it that local residents care about and are best placed to do themselves?
What is it that local residents can best do, but with some outside help that they decide they need?
What is it that communities need outside agencies to do for them?