ABCD Europe

Asset-based community development in action, all over Europe.

Cormac Russell's Blog (19)

ABCD & Leadership: A leadership at the heart of community

The literature on Leadership seems as endless as it is conflicting. The best I can say in defence of ‘leadership’ as a concept is that when it is done well, things change; sometimes for the better, in large part because great leaders can convene conversations that lead the people who participate in them to actionable change. Co-creating a shared future that feels different but inclusive of the past. Put like this leadership is an innate capacity and everyone is called to it, leadership is not… Continue

Added by Cormac Russell on July 28, 2013 at 8:33 — 2 Comments

ABCD and Mental Health: it takes a village to create and sustain mental health

A Strength-based Approach to Mental Health: It takes a village to co-create and sustain mental health

In last year's May edition of the New Internationalist, Dinyar Godrej’s article A healthy mind in a healthy society reminds us that good mental health is rooted in the community and is not the unilateral responsibility of the individual. In other words people with mental health challenges are not to blame, nor alone are the professional systems that endeavour to care for… Continue

Added by Cormac Russell on May 15, 2013 at 8:30 — No Comments

Bedroom tax, direct action and community building. BLOG #2

ABCD conversation:

Laura (Mole) Chapman: A few weeks ago Cormac Russell and I were chatting about the response to the host team’s first blog. We both agreed it had been a positive exercise, and with enthusiasm, I suggested we kept it going for a number of reasons. Firstly, because I thought the experience had been so worthwhile in terms of finding a powerful yet peaceful voice. Secondly, because the feedback we received suggested that we had touched people and made them… Continue

Added by Cormac Russell on May 4, 2013 at 19:50 — No Comments

Direct action; Negotiation or Community Vision Making?

A conversation between members of the Hosting groups at ABCD Europe:


Cormac R: I’m worried about where things are going in the UK, especially in terms of how people most marginalised are being treated. There are serious issues of social justice to be addressed here. I am also concerned…


Added by Cormac Russell on April 5, 2013 at 17:31 — No Comments

Formal Annoucement of the establishment of ABCD Europe affliated to ABCD Institute, Northwestern

Asset-Based Community Development Europe

About Us

ABCD Europe is affiliated to the ABCD Institute at the Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1995 by Prof. John McKnight and Prof. Jody Kretzmann.

The ABCD Institute is at the centre of a global movement that considers local assets to be the primary building blocks of co-operative and sustainable communities.

ABCD Europe will support community building work at…


Added by Cormac Russell on March 28, 2013 at 14:04 — No Comments

Pulling back from the edge: an asset-based approach to ageing well

Providing better ambulances at the bottom of the cliff instead of fences at the top is a half-baked and wasteful endeavour for policy makers and practitioners alike; it resembles the cartoon world of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, not a blueprint for a complex, integrated and functional society. Nowhere along the life-course is the futility of such practices more apparent than in the third and fourth ages. This reflection piece, therefore, is concerned with the means by which, with older…


Added by Cormac Russell on September 7, 2012 at 12:56 — No Comments

12 Domains Game






Facilitators Guide: 12 Domains GAME




















Background to the Game


This is a game…


Added by Cormac Russell on August 27, 2012 at 13:58 — No Comments

ABCD Games-We Can Game




A Players and Facilitators Guide to playing:



‘The We Can Game’


An Asset Based Community Development


Asset Mapping Resource Game





Added by Cormac Russell on August 27, 2012 at 13:57 — 1 Comment

Check out Jubilant Stories-a great initiative in Gloucestershire

Gathering stories of a time when people like you came together to make a difference is about the best way to promote citizen led action. Check out how it's being done in Gloucestershire:

On their website they say:

'We think there are lots of amazing people, like you, living in Gloucestershire.

We want to invite you to join us on a treasure hunt to unearth the county's…


Added by Cormac Russell on August 27, 2012 at 13:14 — 3 Comments

The importance of stories in Asset Based Practice-The Caterpillar and the Butterfly

Why would you start by telling a positive rather than a negative story-is that just Polly-Anna thinking? Isn’t it important to talk about the negative stuff as well-maybe even more than the positive? If we don’t tell the bad news stories then nothing will change?

These were the questions put to me recently at the end of a talk that I gave to a bunch of University Students. All good questions; but all of them shared the same assumption, that we live in a world where the scales…


Added by Cormac Russell on August 27, 2012 at 13:10 — 2 Comments

Discover your own strengths

With all this talk about ‘strengths’ I thought I’d start this blog with a quick word on what we mean by the term. Here’s a piece on some of the most common strengths to be found in ourselves and others

The most important thing to say here is you are the person in charge of what your…


Added by Cormac Russell on August 27, 2012 at 12:49 — No Comments

Taking a Strengths-based Approach to Young People: moving from ‘at risk’ to ‘at promise’

When I read British tabloids their messaging about young people is unmistakable, young people:


This is not just peculiar to the UK, this is a global phenomenon, and what’s more we have a long history of running down young people. Here’s proof:

SOCRATES (500BC) - ‘Our youth today now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect for older people.  Children…


Added by Cormac Russell on August 27, 2012 at 12:48 — 2 Comments

A strengths-based approach to Sport: Sport as an asset for Community Building

By Cormac Russell

I’m a great fan of the Olympics, and a sucker for the pageantry. I can’t help but be impressed by the BBC panoramic coverage, with multiple options at the click of a button. And then there was the Queen’s entrance (via parachute) under the watchful eye of Bond…James Bond. It would be easy to forget amidst all the hype that the modern day Olympics started in the village of Wenlock in Shropshire under the guidance of Dr William Penny Brookes in 1850. In the…


Added by Cormac Russell on August 27, 2012 at 12:46 — No Comments

We Can Asset Based Community Development Game

Here is the facilitators guide for the We Can Game which is a fun way to learn about ABCD:


If you're interested in the cards, email me separately at and I'll send you a soft copy…


Added by Cormac Russell on August 20, 2012 at 21:07 — No Comments

Wiltshire Assembly embrace ABCD

I have been most encouraged by the positive reaction of the Wiltshire Assembly to the ABCD message. Watch this space:

All the best,


Added by Cormac Russell on April 21, 2012 at 20:58 — 2 Comments

Becoming Visible 2011

Becoming Visible 2011

Added by Cormac Russell on January 4, 2012 at 22:25 — No Comments

Asset Based Community Development Pathfinder- A Primer

So imagine this: we have Community Builders doing a fine job, supporting citizens at neighbourhood level to identify, connect and mobilise assets; creating a shared vision for the future. Now what?


Now we run into red tape, power plays, the neighbourhood plans meet resistance, people become deflated, morale saps and we're back to square one. Well it doesn't need to pan out that way, though it very well might if we're not strategic.


So how can Agents of Change…


Added by Cormac Russell on January 2, 2012 at 21:00 — 5 Comments

The Anatomy of an Asset Based Community Builder

So you've gotten to the point where you can say hand on heart I get ABCD, and I love the concepts. Now, the question 'what do I actually do on Monday morning?', might be surfacing. Well in summary answer, you'd start Community Building. Here is a piece on what a Community Builder does; I've called it the Anatomy of an asset based Community Builder:



Added by Cormac Russell on December 4, 2011 at 22:30 — 1 Comment

Is Big Society a Catch-22 proposition?

Is Big Society a Catch-22 proposition?




1. a situation in which a person is frustrated by a paradoxical rule or set of circumstances that preclude any attempt to escape from them

 [from the title of a novel (1961) by J. Heller]


Is Big Society a Catch-22 proposition? Yes, but not in the way you’d expect; not as the standard definition would have it. Big Society is a…


Added by Cormac Russell on December 2, 2011 at 14:22 — No Comments

© 2017   Created by Sophie Ballinger.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service