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research report

Building on assets

The Local Trust approach

October 2015

Leila Baker, Charlotte Hennessy, Marilyn Taylor


Four years into the Big Local programme, Local Trust wanted to be able to describe clearly its approach to community development. We looked at what asset based community development looks like in theory, and then at what it looks like in Big Local areas. Our short report written for all those involved with Big Local goes beyond describing what we learned about the approach to summarising some of the successes and pitfalls experienced in Big Local’s early years.



Key messages


Often when people hear the word ‘assets’ they think about building or land. Residents in Big Local areas define their assets in four ways:



  • People: their skills, knowledge and relationships with one another
  • Pride: the history and character that makes the area special
  • Hope: the imagination and enterprise of local people to make things happen
  • Services, facilities and amenities: getting the most from these for local people.


Building on assets goes hand in hand with the resident-led approach in the Big Local areas. Solutions are not imposed from the outside, rather residents are treated as assets themselves, and trusted to lead.


(Building on Assets the local trust approach 2015)

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