Community Capital: The Value of Connected Communities

Wilson, Suzanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7021-8967 and Morris, David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7372-8084 (2017) Community Capital: The Value of Connected Communities. In: British Psychological Society Community Psychology Festival 2017, 15th to 16th September 2017, Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Art, Bristol.

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The ‘Connected Communities’ approach, adopts an asset-based philosophy to community engagement, focusing on the strengths available to each local community, while acknowledging their needs. Through co-production, this approach empowers communities to better understand themselves, address their own problems in partnership with other
organisations, and realise opportunities and aspirations. The ‘Connected Communities’ approach uses an innovative and inclusive methodology as a means of building community capital (“the sum of assets including relationships in a
community and the value that accrues from these”, RSA, 2015, p. 121 ). This involves training community researchers to survey local communities, and holding community playback sessions, providing community members with the opportunity to discuss the results, and work together in the co-production of an intervention project. Using this approach, the research aims to strengthen community assets, and develop social value (or dividends). The four key areas we would expect to see an increase in social dividends are in well-being, citizenship, capacity and finance.
This presentation will provide an overview of the conceptual, theoretical and methodological frameworks of the ‘Connected Communities’ approach, along with providing examples of the dividends generated by communities in previous projects. Current projects in West Cumbria and Preston will then be presented, highlighting how the same methodology can produce bespoke outcomes suited to the needs of each community.

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