Nurture Development UK

A Strengths-Based Approach to People Powered Change

As the UK moves towards a renegotiation of its social contracts putting citizens at the centre of democratic life, with Government and civil society professionals in a support role - a commitment at all levels to focusing on the capacities of citizens, not their deficits, will be critical to the success of this bold and exciting national process.   Asset Based Community Development and other strengths-based approaches have much to offer in this regard and I believe that Nurture Development UK are uniquely placed to provide thought leadership and practical support in promoting more place based, citizen centred approaches throughout the UK. I highly recommend Nurture Development UK and am proud to have them as strategic partners.

Professor John McKnight, Co-Director of the ABCD Institute, Northwestern University, Illinois

Who We Are
Nurture Development UK is a training and consultancy organisation, led by Cormac Russell in association with Jim Diers, author of Neighbor Power and Martin Simon, founder of Timebanking in the UK. Both Cormac and Jim are faculty members of the Asset Based Community Development Institute, at Northwestern University in Chicago.
The Nurture Development UK team have worked with communities, charities, NGOs, think tanks and governments in over 30 countries throughout the world. They are international thought leaders and social innovators in the field of strengthsbased development. Their work shows transformative results in the areas of: • • • Public policy and social reform Strengthening the relationship between government and citizens Promoting citizen led initiatives and active citizenship including community building and youth participation at neighbourhood and city/county level • Health and wellbeing, including personalisation, prevention of exclusion and the inclusion of older people and people with physical disabilities and mental health difficulties • Effective community responses to safety issues, natural disasters etc. Nurture Development UK work alongside talented UK based associates who specialise in developing strengths-based supports and solutions.

What We Believe
The work of Nurture Development UK is underpinned by the belief that assets and strengths are a better starting point than deficits and problems when it comes to building sustainable and sustaining communities and societies. This strengths-based approach has particular resonance in the UK with localism, co-production, personalisation, the core economy and community driven development all common place terms.
The strengths-based perspective views communities as places with competencies as well as needs. It also recognises that regardless of how well resourced governmental and non governmental institutions are, they will never be able to unilaterally produce health, care for our young and older people or create safe communities. Such outcomes require real partnership between citizens and institutions, with citizens in the lead. Over the last 20 years, this simple but groundbreaking proposition has been successfully translated into practical action by a significant number of communities, public sector, voluntary organisations and local governments around the world, as a means of effecting real and lasting social and economic change. Imagine what might be possible if individuals and organisations in the UK could identify, connect and mobilise their strengths and assets and collaborate with others on issues of common concern. We offer effective change making tools and work with all of the stakeholders to provide the skills, opportunities and incentives to make this happen.

“We have what we need if we use what we have”

What We Do
We support communities and institutions in strengths-based approaches, facilitating change from the inside out. We help to build real connections between citizens and institutions and guide them, step by step, through the actions required to promote more citizen led development. Our expertise is in the areas of:
Research & Policy Development • Civil Society/Active Citizenship • Social Inclusion • Policing and Community Safety • Co-production Social Inclusion • Aging Well • Youth Development • Probation and Juvenile Justice Health • Addressing Health Inequalities • Health Promotion • Sport as an Asset for Community Building Facilitation • Local social & economic planning • Establishment of Timebanks Local Government • Practical models for localism and co-production • Strategies for community building, citizen empowerment & participatory democracy • Developing citizen centred systems of local government • Building strong partnerships with partner agencies and citizens • Local economic development ABCD • Asset Based Community Development Workshops • Asset Mapping • Community Organising training

We also offer the following structured programmes:
Programme 1: ‘Supporting Citizens to Build Stronger Communities from Inside Out’
This programme takes community organisations step by step through the processes needed to identify, connect and mobilise assets to build a vision and action for local social and economic development. The support process includes action learning in asset mapping, community organising techniques, developing a matching grants programme, how to develop an inclusive bottom up neighbourhood plan, and how to ensure all of the assets of the community are mobilised to bring the plan towards actionable change.

Programme 2: ‘Developing a Citizen Driven Strategic Vision for an Area’
We provide training and action learning similar to Programme 1 but for an entire town or area. This programme aims to train a significant number of community builders who can conduct asset mapping and also act as connectors following the completion of the Strategic Vision.

Programme 3: ‘Supporting Organisations to adopt a Strengths-Based Approach’
Organisations are increasingly trying to move from a ‘siloed’ way of working to become more ‘citizen facing’ in how they organise their services. Moreover they are trying to identify more effective ways of engaging with their staff. Starting with people’s strengths and building on them is the answer in both cases. This programme provides the capacity building, awareness raising and practical tools required for both approaches.

Programme 4: ‘Building a Citizen Centred City/County’
This Programme follows on from Programme 3 and supports a wide base of organisations to become community facing and develop cross county inter agency approaches to citizen-led place based development.

What Makes us Relevant in a Time of Austerity?
Severe financial cuts are changing the nature and the reach of our public services and also impacting negatively on the work of the third sector. This will inevitably hit the poorest communities and the most vulnerable individuals the hardest. The challenge for institutions is not to figure out how to conduct ‘business as usual’ with less financial and human resources, but to reassess the effectiveness of current practice and to implement policies that release the potential of other assets that are available to us such as social capital, associational life, and the knowledge, skills and passion of local citizens (the ‘core economy’). ‘We have what we need if we use what we have.’

Our Team
Cormac Russell
Cormac is Managing Director of Nurture Development UK and a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University, Chicago. He has trained communities, agencies, NGOs and governments in ABCD and other strengths-based approaches in Kenya, Southern Sudan, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia. In January 2011, Cormac was appointed to the Expert Reference Group on Community Organising and Communities First, by Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society in the UK. Some recent examples of his work include the following: • Local Government Improvement & Development (Healthy Communities): delivering workshops and advising them on their report: The Glass Half Full: how an assets approach can improve community health and well being. • University of Limerick and Atlantic Philanthropies in Ireland: Implementing a change programme using ABCD in Limerick city that puts citizens and communities in the driving seat, through processes of neighbourhood organising and bottom up planning similar to the Seattle model. • Canadian Council for Ethics in Sport: Leading all national sporting organisations to adopt a shared vision as to how sport can become an asset for community building throughout Canada. Other UK clients include: • Barnwood Trust • Strengths-based workshops delivered to Sandwell Council, to The Forest of Dean District Council’s Local Strategic Partnership, Gloucestershire County Council, and Newcastle Upon Tyne City Council (Children Services).

Jim Diers
Participatory democracy has been Jim Diers’ preoccupation and his career for the past 34 years. Following his early career as a community organiser, Jim was appointed head of the City of Seattle’s new Office of Neighborhoods in 1988. By the end of Jim’s 14-year tenure, the four-person Office had grown into a Department of Neighborhoods with 100 staff. The Department’s mission is to decentralise and coordinate City services, strengthen communities and their organisations, and work in partnership with these organisations to preserve and enhance the neighbourhoods. The Department supports about 400 community self-help projects each year through a $4.5 million Neighborhood Matching Fund that was recognised by the Ford Foundation and Kennedy School of Government as one of the most innovative local government programmes in the United States In 2001, Jim was named Public Employee of the Year by the Municipal League of King County. That same year, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law from Grinnell College. Currently, Jim teaches courses on community organising and community development at the University of Washington. Jim also speaks, conducts workshops and provides technical assistance to communities and agencies around the world as a faculty member of the Asset- Based Community Development Institute and as the author of Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way which is available in English and Chinese editions.

We would be happy to discuss how Nurture Development UK can add value to your work. If you are interested in speaking to us, please contact:

Jim has recently been appointed to the Expert Reference Group on Community Organising and Communities First, by Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society in the UK. His work in the UK over the last two years includes the delivery of workshops to a wide range of organisations (including NHS Trusts, Local Authorities, NGOs and think tanks including the Centre for Social Justice). More recently, he delivered capacity building workshops to all applicants of NESTA’s Community Challenge.

Martin Simon
Martin began his career working with disaffected young people and designed and managed a highly successful residential Intermediate Treatment Centre in Wales which progressed to the running of a range of diversionary programmes for young offenders. Martin was for many years the social architect behind the award winning Gloucestershire Network of Neighbourhood Projects which employed hundreds of local people in all aspects of self management, collective advocacy and service provision on several of the most disadvantaged housing estates. In the early 1990’s he trained in the USA as a Community Organiser and has used these skills ever since to campaign for social change and social justice. He has built an international reputation for his promotion of the ‘co-production’ of Public Services and for the use of a range of strengths-based techniques to bring people together as active and engaged citizens. In 1996, he introduced timebanking to the UK and was the founder and director of Fair Shares, the first time bank in the country. He then became the Chief Executive of Timebanking UK where he oversaw the development of over 250 time banks across the country and is now the co-leader of a social movement that is active in 35 countries. Martin has served on several national advisory groups and government round tables and is now actively promoting the principles behind the Big Society on Lord Wei’s Stakeholder Panel and the Department of Health’s Stakeholders Reference Group. You can follow Martin on Twitter - @TBUKMartin

Cormac Russell
+353 (87) 928 0998

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