Table of contents

Community assets

Summary :: Our community :: Community assets

The Public Health White Paper released by the Department of Health in 2010 outlined a new approach to improving health through greater emphasis on well-being and prevention. This is done by transferring ownership to local communities to tackle the wider determinants of health such as social relationships. This approach, termed the 'asset based approach', identifies skills, strengths, capacity and knowledge of individuals within a community which are used to contribute towards sustainable development.

“A health asset can be defined as any factor (or resource), which enhances the ability of individuals, communities and populations to maintain and sustain health and well-being. These assets can operate at the level of the individual, family or community as protective (and/or promoting) factors to buffer against life's stresses.” — Harrison et al (2004) Assets for Health and Development European programme: Developing a conceptual framework, Geneva: WHO [1]

This approach aims to promote self-reliance within a community rather than relying on services purely provided by the NHS which is currently facing severe financial constraints. It aids social cohesion as people come together to help and get to know each other. Some examples of assets within Medway are the Medway cycling group and Medway cooks (see appendices —> Data inventory —> Social and place wellbeing —> Community assets).


[1]   North West Public Health Observatory. The Asset Approach to Living Well unknown; North West Public Health Observatory.