A key principle of our approach in communities is to identify, connect and showcase the great groups, organisations and physical spaces that already exist in the area.
By exploring these existing resources, we can uncover hidden gems which can then be connected to create extraordinary outcomes. It’s about noticing, listing and telling others about anything that might help to connect people and encourage them to use, develop and share their skills. Finding the fantastic assets that make up a community is a fundamental part of our work.
Lisa Brown, Forever Manchester’s Community Builder explains
“Starting work in a new area can be quite daunting, but for me in my role as a Community Builder it really is like unwrapping gifts on Christmas Day, or starting off on an exciting voyage of discovery. Every street, park, pathway, building, wall, or actual human being is an asset to an area and it’s my job as a community builder to discover as many as possible in a new area and map them.”
Lisa has been busy out and about in Eccles working hard to discover all the hidden gems and wonderful things that already exist within the community. Here are some examples of what we have been finding in Patricroft.
Small, informal groups are often formed around a shared passion for something such as books, sport, gardening, etc., and are often organised by volunteers. They are extremely valuable in any community because they are a ready-made and motivated pool of knowledge and connections.
Organisations such as schools, hospitals, local authorities, job centres, charities and emergency services can be a great source of untapped resources when working in the community. They are also a great wealth of connections and information about existing groups and residents that are active in the community.
Buildings and green spaces
Buildings, green spaces, tools and transportation are all really important when building a stronger, more connected community. Taking account of the physical assets in a community is like doing a stocktake. Buildings are usually the most valuable of community assets, but transportation and open spaces can also be put to good use.
“I usually walk around each area three or four times to get a feel of the place, note down what sort of asset each one is, take photos, and even imagine what other possibilities and potential each asset has. Notice boards including details of current community activities are treasure troves, and a great place to seek out and connect with existing community assets.
Using the ABCD way of mapping is essential to the work of a community builder and provides a wealth of local information to assist when starting to chat with residents about themselves and the community they live in. It’s a point of reference, starts conversations and you get to dig down further and find out so much more. It also means you can tell residents about parts of their community they may not have heard of and encourage them to do the same.
“Here’s some of the amazing assets I’ve found in Eccles in just the first couple of weeks of working there…
Gladys & Lyne. They ❤️ gardening, Man U and want to expand their bird gardens. @4EVERManchester @helencbfm #abcd pic.twitter.com/2Nlga4ENIQ
— Lisa brown (@lisaforevermanc) April 25, 2017
Lovely community garden in a high rise block. Cared for by a few, enjoyed by all. #abcd @helencbfm @4EVERManchester @citywesthousing pic.twitter.com/lYYaKmxd15
— Lisa brown (@lisaforevermanc) May 11, 2017
“Beautiful artwork celebrating industrial achievements of the area in Patricroft Station.
@PatricroftFROPS I took these last year. Beautiful asset to Patricroft. pic.twitter.com/Zfowa10sDH
— Lisa brown (@lisaforevermanc) January 10, 2018
“These local shops in Eccles Precinct have been turned into art galleries where local artists can be celebrated.
Amazing use of town centre assets. An empty shop now a gallery for local artists #abcd @4EVERManchester @helencbfm pic.twitter.com/KcWH4Rckl2
— Lisa brown (@lisaforevermanc) May 3, 2017
The amazing Audrey & Alison who volunteer for @ArtsInEccles. Both have amazing stories to be revealed #abcd @4EVERManchester @helencbfm pic.twitter.com/fPTuN1e3Yt
— Lisa brown (@lisaforevermanc) June 9, 2017
Some more of Audrey’s work. Born in levenshulme and Mancunian through and through. I ❤️ her. @4EVERManchester @helencbfm @MasseyManc #abcd pic.twitter.com/OvkUWYKT1S
— Lisa brown (@lisaforevermanc) June 9, 2017
“There are plenty of hidden beauty spots where wildlife can be enjoyed. This was taken near Peel Rd. in Eccles.”
Give peas a chance!. Friendly Swan on the great Manchester Ship Canal, Peel Green Rd. @4EVERManchester @helencbfm pic.twitter.com/xasEqEeukF
— Lisa brown (@lisaforevermanc) May 5, 2017