There’s mounting evidence that when you begin with what communities have (their assets) as opposed to what they don’t have (their needs) you can really empower them and find better ways of delivering health outcomes. This was the starting point for South Ayrshire Council, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and Maybole Community Council who commissioned Social Value Lab to facilitate a project to reveal the hidden strengths and assets of the town of Maybole.
The project was based on a participatory approach. Our inputs included:
- Building up the most detailed statistical picture yet of the local area, its needs, and assets
- Training local people as co-researchers and supporting them to carry out a participatory asset mapping survey that involved 476 local residents
- Gathering the views of children and young people in all of the main schools
- A telephone survey to gauge the strengths and contribution of local community activities, networks, and groups
- Local events to secure input from public agencies and community leaders, which formed the basis of a community asset development plan
In the end, the research was conducted for local people, by local people.
The findings from the project were presented in narrative, numerical and visual form (including visualisation maps exploring local assets, needs, and ideas for improvement). The processes as well as outputs have helped to:
- Provide strong evidence about the current situation in Maybole in some important service areas such as Health, Learning, Policing, etc.
- Build up a better picture of what local people, organisations and networks can contribute towards improving their town.
- Inform practical decisions about the allocation of public sector resources and actions to be taken forward by community partners.
- Give local people the confidence and skills to conduct research and determine how things can get better locally.
The research project has kick-started a process that is now gathering pace.
Download the main report from the study here.