Launch of the new Building Community Capacity Framework

Alex Fox
Alex Fox, Shared Lives Plus
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The role played by strong, inclusive communities in promoting health and wellbeing is by now well-known and the positive impact of social participation across a range of health and wellbeing indicators has become compelling. However, whilst it is clear that there exists some excellent practice, for too long a strategic approach to building community capacity has been absent and for this reason I am delighted that Think Local Act Personal in partnership with Public Health England has developed this framework to support the work of Health and Wellbeing Boards.

Building community capacity has always been a key element of personalisation and the implementation of wellbeing and prevention duties, together with a number of demographic and financial challenges across the sector now make a persuasive case for putting co-production and community self-development at the heart of the future health and care system. This means moving away from a deficit based model that has always had very little to recommend it and instead embracing, the concept of an asset based approach - the belief that all communities and individuals have skills, gifts and talents that play a leading role in contributing to healthier communities. 'Healthier' in the broadest sense of that term: emotional, social and mental as well as physical.

This next stage of personalisation needs then to embrace the ongoing re-design of services through supporting the development of stronger and more resilient communities. This will require genuine partnership working with communities and a cross -sector systems leadership approach that recognises the many different parts of the public sector needed to be involved in this to fully appreciate the combined assets of people who use services, communities and organisations.

There is now strong recognition across the sector that formal services are a small part of the solution - in fact, in some cases, part of the problem - and that the ongoing reform of health and social care must promote wellbeing and prevention across the piste to support communities to flourish. This framework supports that approach and its implementation by H&WB's will be key in ensuring the ongoing personalisation of services (and in particular the, transformation 'from service user to citizen' (Ralph Board, 2012).

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