Community Development

Our Community Development program practices an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach to highlight and work with strengths in communities such as gifts, skills, knowledge, abilities, interests and passions. We walk beside communities to develop positive community building activities and projects with meaningful and lasting outcomes.

For information on What’s On (upcoming activities and events for the community), please visit our Community Activities and Events page here. 

Community Nature Weaving Communities at Work

Community Development Team

Building strong, cohesive and resilient communities begins with sharing your gifts. Everyone has something to contribute in the way of gifts and assets to their community. 

“In every community, something works. Instead of asking ‘What’s wrong and how to fix it, ask What’s strong, what’s worked, and how do we get more of it?’  It generates hope, energy and creativity.” 

– Peter Kenyon

Ask yourself in the following order:

What can community members do for themselves without outside help

What can community members do for themselves with a little outside help

What help do community members want from outside agents (a decision to be made collectively once local assets are in place and mobilised).

-John McKnight & Cormac Russell

Connecting Communities

The focus of Communities at Work’s Community Development team is to strengthen communities by connecting people, groups, agencies and organisations.  Through these partnerships, we strive to uncover inclusive, collaborative and ongoing opportunities.

In order to achieve valuable outcomes for the benefit of communities, we aim to:

  • identify and understand community strengths, interests and desires through formal and informal research
  • walk beside communities through listening and participation
  • foster networks and alliances to build collaborative partnerships
  • co-design community-driven projects that engage, encourage and empower residents
  • placemaking to create inviting spaces for the community to gather
  • inspire and promote community activities to encourage connections, participation and contribution to community life
  • enhance community cohesion.

We have also worked and continue to work with ACT Government, property developers and other stakeholders on a variety of community initiatives that have enabled residents to connect with each other and build networks and resilience as foundations of growth. Find out more about our initiatives with new and emerging communities, here. 

“Strong communities are created when citizens are the producers of their own future. They cannot be replaced.  No professional, institution, business or government can substitute for the power, creativity or relevance of productive citizens.” 

– Mike Green

Community Development during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Development team has adapted its practice to continue supporting the Canberra community while following health regulations.  This has included the development of a new range of initiatives and resources.

The Community Development team is currently engaging with residents and groups to find out how we can work in partnerships in different ways as restrictions ease.  We are getting ready to re‑engage with the community through a blend of face-to-face and online activities, based on what the community identifies as important.

“We’ve adapted and innovated our normal community development practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.  While we’re no longer able to interact in person, we’re working online, which has created new opportunities for us to connect.”

-Karen Jesson, Communities at Work Community Development Manager

Community Development - Community Activity - Canberra Community - Communities@Work

Community Development - Community Activity - Canberra Community

Community Development Minister Visit Floriade

Community Development South Fest

Power to the People Conference

In 2019, Communities at Work partnered with Bank of IDEAS to host the Power to the People Conference in Canberra.  People from across Australia and New Zealand who are involved in building citizen driven communities, engaged in workshops on ways to empower residents, activate citizenship and build social capital that globalisation has steadily eroded.

Peter Kenyon, Founder and Director of Bank of IDEAS (a Western Australian based organisation that specialises in strengthening communities and developing local economy) held a Masterclass on Asset Based Community Development.

David Engwicht, Master Placemaker and Director of Creative Communities International (a Queensland based placemaking organisation that initiated the 7 Day Makeover) held a Masterclass on Placemaking.

The Conference evaluation showed that an overwhelming majority of participants took something useful away with them.  Feedback since the Conference has highlighted connections, partnerships and project ideas that have been a spin-off from the Conference.

Community Development - Community Services Directorate Packs Work - CD Team

Community Development - Community Activity Gardening

Contact Us

If you would like to find out more, please contact the Community Development team on 6293 6597. 

You can also email the team on 

We’re also happy to chat on our Facebook page here! 


Communities at Work Community Development - ACT Government Support


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