This powerful and moving community research project from Scotland highlights the impact of the power imbalance between professionals and service-recipients (asylum-seekers in this instance) that undermines trust and lessens participants’ belief that their voices will actually be heard. The key messages are that community-led research should be focused around issues identified by the community, and that the people affected should be enabled to carry out the research and take action themselves. Crucially, they say, you should have no stories without numbers and no numbers without stories.
Here’s an interesting report – interesting not only for its contents but for the collaborative way in which it was compiled. Some lessons here perhaps for our Prudent Healthcare strategy – and its implementation. The report emphasises the importance of: building social capital, working with the third sector, communities co-creating and co-delivering services, harnessing community assets and using place-based approaches. Community-led health approaches have empowerment at their core, establishing the priorities of communities and, together with communities, developing ways of addressing these priorities. Moreover community-led health organisations tend to have the knowhow and experience when it comes to building people’s confidence and skills to enable them to take part in improving the health of their communities. Community-led approaches also help to tackle power inequalities that can only be challenged if people have control over their lives and what happens in their communities.
“We’re a community of influencers with a common goal: leveraging relationships to build a better future.”
Like other strengths-based approaches, co-production is based on an appreciation that‘Every single person has capacities, abilities and gifts. Living a good life depends on whether those capacities can be used, abilities expressed and gifts given.’ That’s a quote from a passionate TEDx talk ‘ABCD & Making the invisible visible’ by community worker DeAmon Harges from Indianapolis. Harges’ role is ‘to listen and discover the gifts, passions and dreams of citizens in his community, and to find ways to utilize them in order to build community, economy and mutual “delight.”’ The bulk of his work is based on the principles and practices of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) that brings neighbours and institutions together, builds on what is already present in the neighbourhood, using those formally undiscovered assets to connect and empower rather than working only from the community’s needs and deficits’.
“I have often heard it said that ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Now I feel certain that it takes a village to care for our elders.”
Cornwall has become the first county in the world and the first community in England to sign the international Charter for Compassion and to commit to restore compassionate action to the centre of its community.
A sixth-grade teacher in Bakersfield, California was so sad to see kids coming to school wearing old, torn clothes that she started a clothing bank for students. That was three years ago, and after getting so many donations from the community, she now runs it, inside an old classroom, as a benefit for the entire community.