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
The focus of Communities@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@Work Community Development Manager
Power to the People Conference
In 2019, Communities@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.
Videos from the Conference
Browse our playlist for short videos providing information and resources on Community Development, Building and Engagement, with an Asset-Based Approach. Some notable videos include:
- Building Resilient, Sustainable and Socially Inclusive Communities
- How to get People Connecting in Their Neighbourhoods
- How to be a Citizen Who Makes Change Happen
- Tips for Encouraging Citizenship and Community Building
- Effective and Engaged Volunteering
- Canberra is a Close-Knit Community