Since 2019, the LDP and Nurture Development have trained over 300 practitioners and system leaders across Essex in ABCD, as well as piloting ABCD rapid reviews and stewardship circles.
ABCD stands for Asset-Based Community Development and it challenges the traditional deficit-based approach that tried to solve urban and rural development problems. It demonstrates that local assets (people and physical assets like local parks) are key to ensure sustainable community development, and that people have a life of their own choosing. The focus must always start on what is strong, not what is wrong.
ABCD is the way to build healthier, safer, prosperous and more inclusive communities from the ground up, with citizens in the lead. ABCD invites us to understand that people, their families and communities have unique competencies that cannot be replaced by professional intervention. The only people who can build community are the people who live, sleep and work there.
As those who work with communities know, community building doesn’t work well when outcomes are already predefined.
Strong communities are so important for Essex as they create a sense of belonging and purpose which dramatically improves overall health and wellbeing. The pandemic showed everyone in Essex the incredible acts of generosity, neighbourliness, and community spirit which sustain us in bad times and in good times. There is no greater power than a community acting together on the issues they care about. This power shown by citizens, volunteers, faith groups, charities, social enterprises and community groups needs to be cheered on and supported if we are to improve the lives of everyone in Essex.
Communities are best placed to understand their own cultures and needs, and how they can best help each other. They are at the centre of the mission of ‘levelling up’ our county to tackle the persistent inequalities that are so vivid in many of our local communities across Essex. Physical activity and sport is a major part of the social fabric of local areas, since this is where thousands of people find enjoyment and purpose in their daily lives. Physical activity develops connection, inclusion and resilience. Acting on what you care about with your neighbours builds civic strength and pride. Communities that promote and provide physical activity are our most powerful agents of change for the creation of an active Essex for everyone.