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ABCD project wins Assessment Services Award

We are delighted to announce that we are the winner of an Assessment Services Award under the category ‘Effectively Working With Communities/Partnerships to improve performance.’

The project was led by Thomas Beddow and Rob Georgeson from Community Options, who have proactively led the transformation of the service through what we call an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach.  This approach is person-centred, focusing on people’s strengths and talents, placing service users at the heart of their own recovery. Thomas and Rob attended the prestige awards ceremony in Grantham this week to receive the award. Operational Director Faye Oldroyd commented:

“This is a brilliant achievement and great recognition for the staff at Community Options and all their hard work. I am constantly left inspired by the creative and innovative ways that we work with communities in partnership with service users.”

The Assessment Services Ltd annual awards seek to recognise those organisations who have gained demonstrable benefits from using one or more of their quality standards. The ABCD approach has been adopted within our Community Options service which has demonstrated our excellence in re-shaping how we are working to attain maximum impact for our service users, but also how we creatively work in partnership with the wider community to ensure positive service user outcomes.

We believe that working with people’s strengths increases the confidence, self-esteem and aspiration of individuals and leads to a more sustainable improvement in their mental health, if a person is doing something they enjoy, they are more likely to continue. Employees at Community Options now support their service users in identifying ‘assets’ which can help them achieve their goals, supporting them to connect with their communities and support each other, helping services to ‘step back’. This approach supports the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2016-2021 in working towards “strong, engaged and well-connected communities”.

Rob explains “It’s getting people involved in something they are actually passionate about and that they’ve got skills and knowledge to share with other people, so it’s bringing people together that have the same interests, hobbies or ideas.”

Employees have worked with service users and the wider community to plan and execute ABCD and develop a unique and innovative process for identifying SU ‘need’, connecting individuals to a wider network of support beyond our service.

The services achievements include:

  • The creation of an ABCD practice guide – intended to help staff develop an understanding of effective ways of working with SUs in keeping with the principles of ABCD.
  • The development of a bespoke ABCD outcome monitoring tool – incorporating conversations around SU assets into support planning, creating a balanced discussion and drawing attention to “what’s strong, rather than what’s wrong”. Focus around assets has helped give more balance in this process with workers feeling that the discussions are often more positive and productive as a result.
  • Working collaboratively with our Connect Well Social Prescribing service to develop an asset register of existing community and professional assets to identify local groups and activities for sustainable support beyond the service.
  • The recruitment of 8 Community Connectors who work as volunteers to make connections within the wider local community.
  • Expansion of the service’s group programme, this now includes a dog friendly walking group and cinema group co-produced with SUs.

Well done to Rob, Thomas and all the staff at Community Options for all their hard work and a well deserved award.

You can find out more about ABCD and the work of the Community Options Service in this video: https://youtu.be/fuu6JvsaVmQ