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York - making the most of its community assets

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Care and support, Communities, Innovation

‘Behind ancient city walls and along narrow medieval streets, something transformative is taking place in York’, says Martin Farran, Corporate Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care at City of York Council. Marking publication of the Social Care Institute for Excellence’s Asset-based places: a model for development, Martin attests the city’s people are now coming together to define and deliver the care and support services they really need...

Martin Farran: '[Asset-based approaches] encourage, support and strengthen the resilience of individuals, families and communities.'
York is on a journey to becoming an asset-based place. People's strengths, skills and networks are being harnessed to provide self-supporting networks. This, in turn, is creating a deep reservoir of community based resources people can draw upon to lead healthy, independent and fulfilling lives.

In this context, the local authority and other statutory partners are facilitators. We can help bring people together, provide some of the resources, including buildings and infrastructure and - even in tough financial times - provide some of the money.  All this in service to helping more people build on their strengths and tap into local networks.

As leaders of “place” we also have a leadership role in making sure a diverse range of support exists locally. This support ranges across health, housing, voluntary and community sectors. By pulling all this together we can help make best use of resources to support communities.

New social work report: read about merits of strengths and asset based approaches in Chief Social Worker for Adults Lyn Romeo's latest blog

But do we have all the answers? Far from it; people and communities know best what they want – and need - to achieve.

This is fundamentally an outcome focused approach, which encourages, supports and strengthens the resilience of individuals, families and communities. It also aims to reduce the traditional dependency culture – and this is as it should be.

York is building a place where we have strong, resourceful, connected people - a hub of social action. To get there, our approach is to encourage resilient communities that:

  • are self-managing and less reliant on the council and other agencies for help
  • are able to minimise the disruption to everyday life that unforeseen events present
  • enable people to be more resourceful
  • enable people to have more control of their own lives
  • ensure people are equipped and willing to play a part in community life.

These changes cannot happen in isolation. We need to invest in the supporting skills and infrastructure that people require; to understand what makes them tick and determine what they might need to develop community based services. This is why we have decided to invest in local area coordination, a community-led model which seeks to bring people together to identify their issues and solve them with access to support. It can deliver fantastic outcomes and reduce demands on statutory services.

York is at the start of its journey towards becoming an asset based place. But like its city walls, it has strong foundations on which to build and huge potential amongst its citizens just waiting to be tapped.

 This blog was originally published on SCIE’s website

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