Stronger Together: A toolkit for building community connections
Living somewhere with a strong sense of community is of great importance to North Yorkshire residents; however, developing neighbourhoods that are resilient, cohesive and sustainable is not always easy. This collection of free online resources is designed to help and support communities, parishes, villages and neighbourhoods think about their own settings, encourage wider conversations and initiate social action. Ultimately, providing opportunities for all residents in North Yorkshire to engage with neighbours, build stronger connecting networks and create more sustainable communities.
The resources on this page are divided into four sections. The first is intended for use by anyone within a community; from concerned and interested residents to parish councils and neighbourhood groups. These are followed by resources aimed at professionals, where community projects are required as part of wider work or there are larger funding requirements. The next two sections go into further detail on two specific types of approaches for tackling loneliness within communities – Making Every Contact Count and Asset-Based Community Development.
All these resources are free to access and can be shared and utilised across your community or organisation.
For simple suggestions on how to create more cohesive communities, the ‘Building Connected Communities‘ poster by Community First Yorkshire provides some valuable ideas and a positive starting point for further local discussion. Hard copies are available from our office on request.
Consulting with your community or neighbourhood before starting a project or initiative is good practice and ensures that the community voice is heard.A useful starting point for community engagement is the simple to read guide Top tips for engaging your community. For additional advice on how to get the most out of any public consultation the How to listen to your community resource is an additional read.
If you live in North Yorkshire, our Community Support and Volunteering North Yorkshire teams have a wide range of expertise available to help you to grow your project. However large or small, we are here to help. Find out how here.
The Arthur Rank Centre have produced a guide to reaching out to people in the community through local activities and small projects. Although primarily aimed at rural churches with the aim of reducing loneliness, the guide is filled with ideas and practical tips to help community projects run smoothly. Download the guide here.
Action with Communities Cumbria has a range of toolkits and workbooks available on longer term projects, including a Community Exchange Toolkit and a Good Neighbours toolkit. If you want to pursue a Good Neighbours Scheme in your community then please get in touch with the Community First Yorkshire team for a discussion.
MyCommunity is a website that has a wide range of resources from a variety of community development organisations. Resources include case studies, guides and information sheets on a comprehensive range of topics
Timebanking could be one way for an organisation to develop community networks, encourage skill sharing and build community action in their local setting. For an overview, watch Timebanking in the UK: It’s About Time by Sarah Bird or for more information and guidance visit the Timebanking website.
If you work in the VCSE sector and want to understand if your activities help people feel less lonely, then read A Brief Guide to Measuring Loneliness by What Works Centre for Wellbeing. It incorporates the DCMS and ONS measuring tools found in the national loneliness strategy.
The Making Every Contact Count programme, developed by Public Health England, recognises that small conversations made within both traditional health and community settings such as libraries, business and hospitality can have far-reaching implications for the well-being and health of the individual.
The Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Network have developed a toolbox of questions and actions for use as brief interventions by someone concerned about a customer, client or service user who may be socially isolated or experiencing loneliness.
ABCD stands for Asset-Based Community Development and refers to a type of community development based on the work of Professors Jody Kretzmann and John McKnight. It challenges the traditional deficit-based approach, by focusing on the strengths and assets which a community, neighbourhood or area may have rather than perceived needs and deficiencies.