Building people's resilience and social connections

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Asset-based areas require all of their activities and services to contribute to building people’s resilience and social connections. They also require investment in models which can demonstrate this. TLAP’s Are we there yet? provides a set of planning tools to develop such ‘social capital’. This is part seven of Cliver Miller & Alex Fox's How-to guide for creating an asset-based area. 

Examples of asset-based practice include:

  • Social networks – of friends, neighbours, workmates and others. People enabled to build, or extend their networks, for example, by community circles.
  • Membership of groups – that are run by and for local people. Helping existing groups open up their activities so that everyone who wants is actively enabled to do so.
  • Support for the quality of the interactions that people have with others when they are out and about in the local area. For example with training local people in ‘first aid’ approaches to defuse low level conflicts, preventing them from escalating.
  • Being able to contribute –. Membership of a time banks which allow people to contribute in many different ways and value each person’s contribution on a par with that of others.

Commissioning also has a part to play in  enabling  people to build resilience and for communities to develop their capacity in all four stages of the asset-based commissioning cycle of strategic thinking,planning, doing and reviewing.

Knowledge and strategic thinking 

Identifying desired outcomes – enabling together people, communities and organisations to define outcomes within the context of whole lives.

Planning

Reshaping what communities and organisations do to produce outcomes – by focusing on people and communities, as producers of personal and community self-help, and with organisational suppliers of services and supports, as co-producers of outcomes.

Doing

Strengthening what people, communities and organisations do - provide developmental support to people, communities as well as to existing and new organisational suppliers. Enable them to move to, or improve their joint effectiveness as co-producers and enablers of personal and community self-help.

Reviewing 

Learning from a constructive, three-way dialogue - enabling people, communities and organisations to have an open and constructive dialogue. Capturing and using learning from local practice, networking with people, communities and practitioners from elsewhere.

If you wish to commission innovations at the personal and community level which enable new asset-based practice to flourish, try these approaches. 

Personal level

Front line staff ‘making every contact count’ involving cross-sector action where staff through their everyday contacts are encouraged to talk to people who use services about their lives and link them to community activities. In Southwark, for example, Age UK coordinates this process as part of a social prescribing initiative.

Community navigators or connectors who actively help people find particular activities that suit them and, if required, enable them to make the link. This may involve simply making the introduction or accompanying someone on a series of occasions until they have built up the confidence to participate unaided.

Community level

Brokering collective purchasing – for example, user-led organisations connecting people who want to pool personal budgets or their own assets by helping them to work out what they want to do and how to purchase the collective supports they require.

Links to all of the above innovations and more can be found in:

Alex Fox. (2017)   The Asset-Based Area. Online: Coalition for Collaborative Care, Shared Lives Plus, enable the and Think Local, Act Personal. Available at: https://lnkd.in/g2cfAbx

Richard Field and Clive Miller. (2017) Asset-based commissioning: better outcomes, better value. Bournemouth: Bournemouth University. Available as a free download, in both its full (215 pp) and digested versions (11pp), from http://www.ncpqsw.com/publications/asset-based-commissioning/ (opens new window)