Connected Communities

The Connected Communities approach: some fundamentals The vision of ‘Connected Communities’ is one in which people are embedded within local networks of social support; in which social isolation is reduced and people experience greater wellbeing and other benefits from the better understanding, mobilisation and growth of ‘community capital’ in their neighbourhoods. ‘Connected Communities’ is an approach to making change in communities based on the relationships and strengths that individuals and communities have and need. It is based on work originally carried out by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), Centre for Citizenship at the University of Central Lancashire, and the London School of Economics (LSE) in seven neighbourhoods across England that aimed to improve the mental wellbeing of local residents. Orbit is using the Connected Communities approach in a number of local neighbourhoods, starting in Foleshill (Paradise) in Coventry and Crowhill, Northamptonshire. Connected Communities trains community researchers in how to understand the strengths and relationships local people have, and what they might be missing to help them make the change they wish to make. We then interview local people and record their characteristics and connections. We then stitch all of these interviews together to create a ‘map’ of the strengths the community holds, the problems it faces (individually and collectively). Through this map we can see what type of people have what could support be offered for what kinds of problems We then present our findings back to the community and together we figure out ways of using and adding to the strengths in the community to support the issues local people face. Finally, we put those ideas into practice and evaluate the results.