Communities of Hope is about something very precious. It’s about a community’s capacity to learn, to change, to grow—and to build that most invaluable of commodities: respectful connectedness.
Communities of Hope describes a ‘strengths’ approach to community capacity building. This approach is concerned with the building of a community’s own capacity and potential. The focus is on the building of community by the community. Planning, competency and decision making are owned by the community. Additional expertise, information, knowledge and other resources are accessed by the community to complement its vision, its strengths and existing resources.
This publication is based on the strengths approach to community capacity building developed by St Luke’s Anglicare (Bendigo, Australia). It contains a comprehensive three-day workshop plan and 39 reproducible handout masters to build and empower communities.
Social workers, community leaders, mental health professionals: here is a step-by-step blueprint for a strengths-based approach to community capacity building, designed to guide people as they create resilient, flexible, well-connected communities.
Stories and Reviews
Communities of Hope, New Community Quarterly, Autumn 2005, p. 39
Communities of Hope is about something very precious. It is about a community’s capacity to learn, to change, to grow-and to build that most invaluable of commodities-respectful connectedness. This is a truly generous book giving a step-by-step blue-print for a strengths-based approach to community capacity building, as developed by St Luke’s Anglicare (Bendigo, Australia).
This book contains clearly articulated and inspiring principles, with a three-day workshop for community leaders focusing on the building of community by the community. It emphasises self-determination, ‘power-with’ and people’s right to deep respect. Planning, competency and decision making are owned by the community. Additional expertise, information, knowledge and other resources are accessed by the community to complement its vision, its strengths and resources. While this book was originally commissioned for church communities, it can be used as powerful resource in any community, regardless of religious belief.
Explore pictures of the future, labelling ownership of the process, the competency cycle, the column approach, appreciative audiences, noticing exceptions, reframing, facilitation skills, sustaining change and much more.
In a world that is increasingly alarmed about security, where international tensions spill into our own nation and where globalisation strikes at the heart of many local communities’ viability, it is fundamentally important to believe in community.
Andrew W. Curnow, Bishop of Bendigo
‘We use a strength-based approach and developed our trainings and tools based in-part on this valuable guide.’
New Mexico Tribal Prevention Project (NMTPP), Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Excerpts from ‘Promising Practice Profiles: Connected Families – Strong Communities‘, Australian Institute of Family Studies, January 2005
‘Connected Families – Strong Communities developed in response to a request from Cranbourne Secondary College (in the outer south-eastern area of metropolitan Melbourne), to assist in building stronger relationships with families and the broader community. It was envisioned that greater employment opportunities and better socio-economic outcomes for students followed increased school attendance and retention. On the other hand, stronger links forged with parents would also assist in reducing isolation and stress, increasing confidence to address parenting issues.
Self-determination is a particularly strong feature of the Connected Families – Strong Communities project. Following the research findings from McCashen (Communities of Hope, 2004) that: “Self-determination is about ‘ownership’. It involves genuine choice and the right to participate or not and to be included and consulted”, the project has utilised a variety of methods to inform, consult and invite participation of all parents involved with the Cranbourne Secondary College. Projects that are developed provide a range of ways parents can choose to become involved by providing activities and events both within and outside of work hours, opportunities for casual or regular involvement, and opportunities to share or learn skills.
There have been a range of outcomes related to our practice approach. These are:
- parent active support to the school has been established;
- parents are linked to the community (i.e., there is established support between the community, the school and parents);
- school staff are now appropriately responsive to parent participation within the school;
- credible relationships with community groups lead to increased responsiveness to community needs;
- improved communication and relationships between parents, students and teachers;
- parent participation in parent education;
- student satisfaction;
- parent satisfaction; and
- teacher satisfaction.
DEECD Early Childhood Intervention Reform Project: Revised literature review, prepared by the Centre for Community Child Health (Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital), December 2010, p. 30.
‘Strength-building and empowerment. Parents of children with developmental disabilities want and need to (re)gain control over their lives, and to develop their capacity to meet the children’s needs. To help them do this, practitioners need to use strength-building and family-centred practices (Pilkington & Malinowski, 2002; Saleebey, 2006; Turnbull et al., 2000). Training programs, such as those developed at St. Luke’s in Bendigo (McCashen, Communities of Hope, 2004), are now available.’