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Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)

“What’s strong, not what’s wrong”

ABCD stands for Asset based Community Development.  It is community-led development and focuses on the assets and strengths which already exist within a community, and making connections between these in order to strengthen communities.

ABCD explores the people, places, organisations and services within their communities, the strengths or gifts that they have, and how these can contribute to developing ideas and projects within a community.

Communities become stronger when existing assets are connected. Communities make use of their existing assets to get other things they may need and support other projects, reducing the reliance on external resources. By doing this communities can become more sustainable.

Find out more about ABCD

A common pathway when taking an asset-based approach

Adapted from


ABCD starts with people talking to each other.

When this happens, experiences are shared and people’s skills, knowledge and passions are discovered.

Through listening to people’s stories you will find out what people care about and what motivates people to take action, and gain insight into the culture of a community.

Bring people together

When listening to stories you will start to discover people who have leadership skills or those who have the commitment and drive to explore their community’s assets and lead on projects.

Connect these people together and this will lead to the development of other relationships within a community.

Map community assets

As a community, undertake asset mapping activities.

Through this, people build relationships, learn more about each other’s gifts, make connections that create opportunities and make change possible.

Community connections

It is important not only to strengthen existing relationships in a community, but to also make new ones.

In every community there are people who know lots of other people, and who can make connections between different people.

Identify who these natural connectors are and engage with them.

Community vision & plan

The development process is led by the community, who make use of existing assets, including unrecognised ones. It is important to match assets with opportunities.

Choose an activity to begin working on right away.

Harness the power of motivation

People are more likely to get involved with a project when:

  • they know what to do to succeed
  • they know what success looks like
  • they know how to get started
  • success is achievable

When people see they are successful this further motivates them and brings people together.

Secure external resources & funding

Making decisions is left to the community.

Institutions take an ‘arms length’ approach so that communities are proactive in taking the lead and making decisions.

Local resources are used and the community develops a clear understanding what else is needed, and then looks for external support.

ABCD Case Studies & Local Projects

Read about communities and organisations who use an asset-based approach in Suffolk and further afield.

Kirkley Peoples Forum (Sept 2022)
Lavenham Community Land Trust (Sept 2022)
Shotley Peninsular Diabetes Prevention Project (Sept 2022)
The Hive, Ipswich (Sept 2022)
A Parish Council Approach by Matt Sealby, Chair of Stonham Parva Parish Council (June 2023)
Tea and Tech presentation by Tracey Walsh from Communities Together East Anglia (June 2023)

ABCD Resources

Below are a range of resources that you might find helpful, including, websites, reports, and toolkits.

Reports & Articles
Guides & Handbooks

How to use Google Maps for Community Mapping