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‘What works here doesn’t work there’: The significance of local context for a sustainable and replicable asset‐based community intervention aimed at promoting social interaction in later life

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Josephine Wildman, Dr Nicole Valtorta, Professor Suzanne Moffatt, Professor Barbara Hanratty



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Interventions that harness local assets to benefit a community are increasingly being promoted to improve health and wellbeing. In practice we know little about how local contexts or reliance on local resources affect the sustainability and scalability of asset-based community developments. This qualitative case study documents the development and implementation of a novel asset-based community development project. Based in a large mainly rural county in North East England with relatively high levels of socio-economic deprivation, the project aimed to prevent social isolation among older people, using a range of food-related activities. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with service users, volunteers, project partners, project development workers and senior staff. Interviews explored the project’s design and implementation process, outcomes for participants and the wider community, and project sustainability and scalability. Thematic analysis of the data identified four factors likely to be important for creating sustainable and replicable asset-based community projects. These factors are 1) recognising and harnessing assets among local people who may be otherwise marginalised due to age, geographical isolation and/or socio-economic deprivation; 2) identifying assets that can be provided by local businesses; 3) genuine project co-production to develop activities that meet local needs and inspire enthusiasm among all stakeholders; and 4) on-going organisational support to meet the challenges to sustainability that exist in socioeconomically-deprived areas. We conclude that successful asset-based community projects require extensive community in-put and learning captured from existing programmes can facilitate the replicability of programmes in other community contexts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wildman JM, Valtorta N, Moffatt S, Hanratty B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health and Social Care in the Community

Year: 2019

Volume: 27

Issue: 4

Pages: 1102-1110

Print publication date: 17/06/2019

Online publication date: 12/03/2019

Acceptance date: 09/02/2019

Date deposited: 11/02/2019

ISSN (print): 0966-0410

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2524

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/hsc.12735


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