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Community Assets

Overview of an 'asset approach' (JSAA)

One feature of a JSNA is that it is a deficit model of health needs. This is a necessary feature of a desk top analysis of needs, but is recognised as a limitation as it fails to take account of assets that exist within communities that could be used to help us bring about the improvements in health and wellbeing needed.

In the Local Government Association’s Health Commission ‘Who’s accountable for health?’ (2008)  they made the point that, “many of the big public health challenges are linked to gaps in health status and access to services between different groups of the population." 

Addressing the problems of relatively poor health among deprived sections of society clearly has a local dimension. There  is increasing consensus  that many of the solutions to challenges  such as improving public health  need  to be much more  rooted  in local circumstances. 

The traditional  view  of unmet  need tended to identify the difference between the number of users and the prevalence rate as those who are not being served by the system, and therefore may not have their needs addressed  this could be further perpetuated with health investment and initiatives, potentially missing the local assets.

The 2010 Marmot report into UK Health Inequalities confirmed that the wide range of health determinates which promote good health extended far beyond purely health issues, e.g. economic, cultural and social factors.

Following on from this report was the focus of rebuilding of civic participation and localism. Both these factors suggest that asset based working has its benefits that should be explored and built upon. 

The ‘asset approach’ is one of a number of such approaches that can be effective. It builds on the assets and strengths of specific communities and engages citizens in taking action, and is cost- effective, since it provides a conduit for the resources of citizens, charities or social enterprises that underpins local service provision. 

This page will host a range of information to raise your awareness of the ‘Asset’ approach and where local developments are planned.

Head, hands and heart: asset-based approaches in health care: A review of the conceptual evidence and case studies of asset-based (April 2015)
This report sets out some of the territory, opportunities and challenges in adopting asset-based approaches for improving health and wellbeing. It introduces the theory and practice of asset-based approaches, explores some of the key principles for developing health assets and the evidence and mechanisms of impact on health outcomes of asset-based projects in the UK. It also identifies areas for further investigation.

Exploring the Social Value of Community Assets in Wirral
This project set out to explore the contribution that community assets and community-led initiatives in Wirral are making to Public Health outcomes. Led by the Applied Health and Wellbeing Partnership, with the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University and Wirral Council Public Health Team, the project has identified successful aspects of community asset delivery that could be replicated elsewhere. View the final 'community assets' report

Documents of interest


North West JSNA leads travel to Wirral to discuss approaches to Community Assets

April 2015 saw JSNA leads for across the North West come to Wirral to discuss and understand the role of community assets in health and in particular, 

  • How can we identify, understand and maximise community assets?

  • Examples of how this is being done in Wirral

  • Examples of how this is being done elsewhere

  • Consider ideas, thoughts and options for the future

Here is the slide presentation from the event: 
Community Assets: Local Approaches April 2015