Croydon ABCD Pilot Project. 

The Community Connectors ABCD Project’s aim was to adopt a community sensitive ‘stepping stone’ approach to build up local communities in the wards of Broad Green, Selhurst and Thornton Heath. These wards are some of the most deprived in the borough and significantly affected by the riots of 2011. The Council commissioned local voluntary sector partners Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA), working with Asian Resource Centre Croydon and Gingerbread Corner to deliver the project, with mentoring, support and guidance from national experts, Nurture Development. This project has shown that community isolation and fragmentation can be successfully challenged by shifting the focus from what’s missing to strengthening what’s already there in neighbourhoods and communities.

Positive outcomes included successful engagement of over 300 local people, including from communities that are traditionally under-represented (youth, and people from Asian and Black backgrounds), and evidence of increased knowledge of local community assets within wards and a clear improvement in how community members taking part in the project felt about their area by the end of the project.

Link Up, Inspiring Scotland. 

Inspiring Scotland’s ‘Link Up’ programme recognises that traditional top down approaches to community regeneration can fail to achieve long term change, and that in order to improve resilience to tackle long-term issues faced in communities it is necessary that local residents are part of the solution and able to start to address some of their own needs. The programme seeks to reconnect communities by helping local people get to know and trust their fellow residents through shared activities and time spent helping each other.

Link Up works in 10 areas across Scotland, selected for their size, economic and social challenges, and the availability of a suitable host organisation. A four-step asset based approach is followed:

·        Build relationships and engage with the local community and local voluntary sector organisations to find out ‘what is good about the local area?’

·        Support local people to organise and deliver activities that they would like (e.g. cooking, archery)

·        Nurture and develop the new groups forming around these activates

·        Get the groups/activities on a sustainable footing.

Link Up’s approach:

·        Starts by asking what’s good about a community and what local people can contribute, rather than re-enforcing the ‘usual’ focus on deficits.

·        Is not about enforcing external agendas. It has a strong vision and aims around individual and community wellbeing, but at a local level the participants choose their own groupings and define their own activities without being steered in any particular direction to deliver an external agency agenda, predefined activities or externally imposed targets.

·        Link Up workers have – within defined principles – significant autonomy to develop and ‘flex’ their approach in-line with the local context and the aims of local people.

·        Link Up’s flexible funding model enables participant ideas to be rapidly turned into action, sometimes within days or a couple of weeks.

·        The principles that underpin the Link Up approach feed through into the respect and value shown to participants by Link Up workers, where they are recognised as valuable contributors, not victims/issues to be saved/resolved.

Valuing nurses as assets: The Buurtzorg care model.

Developed in the Netherlands in 2006, the Buurtzorg care model is an example of employees being valued as assets. An ageing population, increased demand for social care and funding constraints contribute to falling quality in care services, and increasing staff pressure. The Buurtzorg model is a unique nursing system which has garnered international acclaim for being entirely nurse-led and cost effective. It began with only four nurses on staff, and has now grown to over 9,500 nurses in 800 independent teams.

Under the Buurtzorg model, nurses and other health care professionals work in small, self-managing teams with a high level of autonomy to control their day to day work. This has had a range of benefits for:

·        Nurses: Nurses feel empowered in their work, given the trust placed in them to do their job, and their degree of autonomy. There is no hierarchical management structure, with coaches who have an enabling role, as opposed to a management role. Sick leave is low and job satisfaction is high. Buurtzorg was named the best employer in the Netherlands in 2010, 2011 and 2012 by Effectory, a Dutch company that collects, analyses and uses feedback from employees and customers.

·        Patients: Patients receiving care from Buurtzorg nurses report high levels of satisfaction pertaining to physical care, staff quality and information.

·        Spending on health care: The Buurtzorg model has largely eliminated the need for middle management and back office costs. The 800 teams of nurses are supported by only 15 coaches and 45 backroom staff. Patients are also reportedly less likely to be admitted to emergency departments and when they are admitted, are more likely to have a shorter hospital stay – reducing pressure on the health system, and associated costs.