Innovative ABCD in Leeds programme set to widen its reach as three new Pathfinder sites given go-ahead: ABCD in Leeds Pathfinder logo

20 May 2024

Innovative ABCD in Leeds programme set to widen its reach as three new Pathfinder sites given go-ahead

Health Adult social care

A pioneering asset-based community development programme is set to be expanded in Leeds.  

This follows a decision by Leeds City Council to build on the success of its Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) programme and introduce three new Pathfinder sites in Bramley (Bramley Baths), the Hawksworth Wood area, residing in Kirkstall (HAVA), and Little London and Woodhouse (Oblong). The introduction of the three Pathfinder sites brings the total number across the city to 17. 

Each new site will employ an ABCD Community Builder to identify different assets that exist in each area and seek to explore how they can harness and build on the capabilities, strengths, and skills of residents to deliver citizen-led initiatives that seek to shift power back into the hands of the local community.

Since 2013, the ABCD in Leeds programme has played an important role in providing a safe space for local people to lead on and make the changes they wish to see in the communities where they live. The ABCD model is based on focusing on what is strong in an area, creating a positive environment where people feel empowered to share their skills, knowledge, gifts, and ideas with each other. This community-led approach has created social connection and citizen-led action through the building of friendships, and reciprocal change, which has improved the health and wellbeing of the local people living there. Initiatives undertaken have ranged from dance and art groups to community choirs, gardening projects and cooking skills sharing, to coffee morning meet ups and knitting groups! 

Preparation work is now underway with each new ABCD in Leeds Pathfinder site, with individual launches expected to take place in the summer of 2024.  

To find out more about ABCD in Leeds, please see:  

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, public health and active lifestyles, said:  

“We are delighted to be able to announce the introduction of three new ABCD in Leeds Pathfinder sites which will serve the communities of Bramley, Little London and Woodhouse, and the Hawksworth Wood area.

“This is very exciting news and is recognition of the truly fantastic work which the ABCD in Leeds programme has undertaken since its launch in 2013, harnessing and supporting the immense talent that exists in our communities. Not only do our Pathfinder sites led by local groups provide residents with an opportunity to learn new skills and discover hidden talents, they also crucially provide them with the support they need to contribute and help bring forward positive change that mirror the individual needs of their communities.” 

Jenny Willetts, Business Development Manager, Bramley Baths, said: 

"We are overjoyed to be one of the recipients of the ABCD in Leeds grant. Championing this way of working within the Bramley community will create so many positive connections, experiences and opportunities for its residents.” 

Cherie Cartwright, Chair of HAVA, Cherie Cartwright, said: 

“HAVA and KVDT are thrilled to have been allocated funding to employ an ABCD community builder for Hawksworth Wood.

“It is an exciting opportunity to further empower our community, listening to and drawing on their strengths. We are lucky to have a diverse community with great ideas and experience. 

“Our ABCD community builder will support connecting this knowledge, bringing more of the community together to create positive change.” 

Fawzia Mir, Development Officer, Oblong, said: 

“Oblong are very excited to be delivering the ABCD Pathfinder project in Woodhouse and Little London. 

“Oblong has a proven commitment to asset-based community development, and we welcome the opportunity to deliver this project that aligns well with our vision and values.” 


Notes to editors:  

The new Pathfinder sites:

Bramley Baths will deliver a Pathfinder site in Bramley. For more information, please see: Bramley Baths | Swimming | Bramley Baths, Broad Lane, Bramley, Leeds, UK

The Hawksworth Wood area Pathfinder site will be delivered by HAVA. HAVA Big Local Leeds | Facebook

A new Pathfinder site in Little London and Woodhouse will be delivered by Oblong. For more information, please see: Oblong | Woodhouse Community Centre

Follow us on Twitter! 

You can also follow and find out more about the ABCD programme on X, formerly known as Twitter at: @ABCDinleeds #communitypowerleeds #ABCDinleeds 

Academic research: 

A study undertaken by Leeds Beckett University and published in 2021 found a variety of benefits and strong outcomes from the ABCD in Leeds project. The study looked at the functionality of the ABCD approach and its ability to be implemented in a wide range of communities both across Leeds and nationally.  

It also looked at how the ABCD model worked in practice evaluating the impact of three positive outcomes: people having good friends, individuals and organisations becoming better connected, and communities identifying and working together to bring about the changes they want to see. To read more about the findings of the study, please see: Resources | Abcd In Leeds 


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