We have a new blog page!

Welcome to our new blog page. WordPress offers alot more features than the previous blog, so please have a look around. If you have any suggestions for the blog, or would like to contribute please use the comment box below, or email us at abcdillawarra@gmail.com.


Community Champions

Community Champions
I attended a local Council’s Community Strategic Plan review the other week. Each of us were allocated to work on a particular theme and lucky me, I got Community! At my table were all men who were probably about 20-30 years older than me. Our task was to spend Council’s budget..well not the real budget, but as a group of strangers we had to negotiate what services, resources, facilities we were willing to increase, keep the same or decrease.
The first item we had was crime & safety programs, and to my delight this is when I met Frank* a local Community Champion! We discussed if we should increase, decrease or maintain the budget for crime & safety and then Frank shared with us his view. Frank is involved with a local sporting club, and when the sheds gets tagged with graffiti he simply gets out there as soon as possible, and paints over it. He doesn’t bother calling Council, he just does it himself, he sees that it is just easier & quicker to do. When I asked him if shop owners and other clubs should do something similar he said of course! It just seems like a no brainer for him to maintain the sports sheds. Obviously Frank has a connection to that sporting ground, and all that it has to offer. He has a sense of pride & ownership and cares for the grounds like they were his own home.
So I wonder how many other Community Champions we have in our communities. People who recognise that we are all in it together & that if we have an opportunity to make our communities better, they take it.
Frank didn’t think what he was doing was special, or unusual, which makes it even better! Thanks Frank you are a Champion!

*Frank is not his real name.

Budget Allocator

Shellharbour City Council wants to find out what you value most so we can find the right mix of assets and service delivery while maintaining financial sustainability. The Budget Allocator allows you to:

  • review areas of discretionary spending from Council’s general fund
  • choose priority areas in which you want services maintained or improved
  • identify areas in which you are willing to see a decrease, and
  • understand the relationship between the services and assets you value, how much they cost, and a potential rate increase


Just to clarify what ABCD is..

Just to clarify what ABCD refers to..

I have heard from a few people that they are quite unsure exactly what the term ABCD is, so I thought I should clear it up.
ABCD refers to Asset Based Community Developmnet. ABCD is just a fancy term to talk about strengths based practice. It’s not a new ‘thing’ and in fact many services and workers worth within a strength based framework. However some funding models and government agendas have meant some community services approaches have had to focus on the needs, gaps, deficits within communities in order to receive funding, support etc
To make my point here is an extract from John McKnight & Peter Block. ABCD experts from the U.S
“…It is a modern paradox that while strong neighbourhoods are built by connecting the gifts and skills of neighbours, very few institutions have an interest in the full half of local people. Universities flourish by studying neighbourhood deficits. Philanthropies provide grants to those who can demonstrate local brokenness. Governments provide funding based upon the quantification of local misery. Newspaper and television stories focus on local problems and conflict, solidifying the popular image of needy local people. When the intellectual, philanthropic, governmental and media institutions all focus on neighbourhood deficits, they are a powerful negative force…”
For the full article follow this link http://www.abundantcommunity.com/home/posts/john_mcknight/parms/1/post/20101005_beware_the_invasion_of_the_needs_surveyors.html
I think this puts us- the passionate workers, in an interesting predicament. How do we build strong connected communities when our funders want to hear about the needs, gaps, deficits..
Also another thing to clarify ABCD seeks to support case management/ welfare programs etc, not replace it. ACBD strengths communities by identifying that individuals have skills, assets, and that collectvly we have an abundance of resources on hand already- our own!
So please feel free to share your thoughts on ABCD..

Port Kembla Walk n Talk

The ABCD Illawarra Network would like to invite you:

‘Walk and Talk’ with Port Kembla Community Project

9-11am Thursday 1st November 2012

Meet at Port Kembla Community Centre, corner of Wentworth and Church Sts, Port Kembla for a 9.30am start
Wear your walking shoes for a morning of walking and talking with the Port Kembla Community Project (nothing too strenuous, just a light stroll!).
We will have a walk & talk around the centre, then visit the laneways of Port Kembla through to King George’s Oval to hear how the project has harnessed the strengths and skills of the community to run programs and activities in partnership with the community.
Morning tea will be provided and coffee available for purchase.
Numbers are limited. Please RSVP to abcdillawarra@gmail.com or by phone 0477 317 224 by Monday 29 October.

Peter Kenyon Training

Training Opportunity

Peter Kenyon
Peter is a social capitalist and community enthusiast, who has had a 35 year involvement in youth development initiatives across the globe. This has involved such diverse roles as youth club organiser, teacher, youth education officer, detached youth worker, youth employment director and formulator of youth policies (including 23 national youth policies). He is passionate about creating the environment that enables effective youth participation and empowerment, and encourages and supports young women and men to be proactive in shaping society. Thus his interest in Asset Based Community Development (A.B.C.D.). During this Workshop, Peter will share this philosophy and a range of methodologies, tools and case studies to illustrate its practical application. Wollongong City Council’s Youth Service in collaboration with Access Community Group and The Smith Family are please to announce an afternoon with Peter Kenyon. Peter will share his specialist knowledge in Asset Based Community Development, which includes practical example both in Australia and overseas.
Date: 20 August 2012 Time: 2pm to 5pm Location: Wollongong Youth Centre 85 Burelli St Wollongong RSVP Essential, But it will be popular, so RSVP quickly to secure your place. Email:mwilson2@wollongong.nsw.gov.au or call Megan on 4226 5969

How your Interagency can use a ABCD approach

Hi All
I hope you were fortunate enough to see Jim Diers earlier this month. He was certainly well versed on ABCD and had some great examples to share! I loved the seat being ‘locked up’!
This blog entry will talk about how on a practical level can you adopt an ABCD approach to interagency meetings. Also a reminder to get your tickets for the Insight Exchange Conference.

An interagency is essentially a community of organisations and interested people who share a common interest, which may be a specific geographic area or a population group in the community.
How an ABCD approach can support interagency work
·         Helping the group to learn more about the people and organisations within the interagency, including their strengths and possible contributions;
·         Identifying gaps in membership, including community members who are not part of formal organisations;
·         Strengthening the collaborative practice of the interagency; and
·         Re-energising members.
Examples of how an interagency could use an ABCD approach
·         On meeting agendas replace the ‘issues’ item with ‘ideas, solutions and opportunities’ to allow the discussion to focus on positives rather than only problems.
·         Be willing to share power amongst all interagency members. For example, have a chairing group rather than only one organisation leading and planning your meetings, invite different members to lead discussions or activities during meetings.
·         Support community members who are not a part of formal organisations to join the group. For example, establish a buddy system to mentor community members who may not have been involved in such groups before, make meetings at times and places that are more accessible to community members.
·         Undertake asset mapping within the interagency. Asset mapping is basically the creation of a ‘map’ of what is valuable within a community. Within an interagency an asset map could be developed based on the members, their knowledge and networks. With organisations, think about what possibilities exist within the organisation beyond only their intended purpose.
·         Have fun! For example, instead of holding meetings have gatherings in a local park or visit examples of projects and do a ‘walk and talk’.
We would love to hear how you are using the above ideas for your meetings, interagencies. So please leave a comment below of comment on our Facebook page ACBD Illawarra Facebook page

INSIGHT EXCHANGE 2012 CONFERENCE is on 21st & 22nd August in Wollongong

‘Insight Exchange 2012 community conference is about exchanging experiences, ideas and resources that empower community leaders to create transforming solutions. Insight Exchange will refresh your perspective to see the opportunities around you, the capacity within you and the infinite possibilities that exist through a collaborative community approach.’

Jim Diers Workshop

Hello ABCD ers
Well lots has been happening behind the scenes, and we have a great training opportunity to share with you.
Jim Diers is the founding Director of the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighbourhoods, Author of Neighbourhood Power: Building Community the Seattle Way, and Faculty Member of the Asset Based Community Development Institute. Find out more about Jim at http://www.neighborpower.org/
Jim Diers will be presenting on Tuesday 31 July 2012
9:30am- 12:30pm (rego 9:15am)
Port Kembla Seniors Citizens Centre
Allan Street, Port Kembla
RSVP by Monday 23rd July 2012
Tracy Venaglia (Wollongong City Council)
Also Shellharbour City Council is seeking a Community Capacity Officer.
We are seeking a Community Capacity Officer to provide capacity building initiatives and advice to Council. Reporting to the Manager, Community Development, you will be responsible for promoting, supporting and contributing to the delivery of social justice, social capital and capacity for the communities of Shellharbour, with a city wide place based approach
ABCD Illawarra is now on Facebook! So please join us online to share your journey with ABCD Illawarra Facebook page