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Asset-based approaches

Completed Project

Calendar icon Communities

Folder icon Mar 2011 - Dec 2017

Asset-based approaches emphasise the need to redress the balance between meeting needs and nurturing the strengths and resources of people and communities. They are ways of valuing and building on the strengths, successes and skills of individual and communities. Around 2010, asset-based working was coming into sharper focus as being potentially important in improving health and in reducing health inequalities.

Developing the evidence base

To provide support to the development of the evidence base we published a suite of briefing papers that: synthesised the evidence on asset-based approaches for health improvement at that time; explored a range of methods and techniques that could be used to identify and mobilise individual and community level assets; discussed what asset-based working may add to the way that health and care services are delivered. 

Asset-based approaches in community settings

Alongside the briefing papers, and to illustrate asset-based approaches for health improvement in action, in 2012 we published Assets in Action: Illustrating asset-based approaches for health improvement. This research profiled the work of 19 community-based projects with the aim of illustrating how asset-based approaches were currently being applied in Scotland in community settings. The case studies within the report highlight the key characteristics of asset-based working and demonstrate the strengths and challenges of the approach for individuals, the wider community and project staff. 


Asset-based approaches in health and care service settings

Building on this learning about asset-based working in a community setting, we profiled the work of a number of mainstream statutory services that were embedding asset-based principles in their approach to service delivery, and explored opinion and thinking on the potential of this way of working within public services in a Scottish context. The report Asset-based approaches in service settings: striking a balance reports on this research illustrating the features, characteristics, challenges and potential of asset-based working within health and care service settings. 

 Animating Assets

We also worked in partnership with Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) to test asset-based approaches to improving community health and wellbeing using an action research approach. We supported different communities across Scotland to design, test, and gather evidence of the change that comes from taking an asset-based approach in their local areas. The aim of the research and learning programme was to produce new evidence of the impact made by asset-based interventions on health and wellbeing. Our report Positive conversations, meaningful change: learning from Animating Assets captures learning from the research sites as they developed asset-based approaches to a range of health and social wellbeing issues as identified by local communities or partnership groups in Scotland.

Digital stories

The sharing, collection and analysis of stories was an important part of the work of Animating Assets in the two Glasgow research sites. As a component of appreciative inquiry practice, stories were used to ‘make sense’ of the world, to build connections and to enable new meaning to emerge. The digital stories produced as part of Animating Assets provide an illustration of this process in action.

Animating Assets in Barmulloch and Balornock digital story

Animating Assets reflections from Milton digital story

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Publications & Documents


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