Stronger together: a toolkit for building community connections

Living somewhere with a strong sense of community is of great importance to North Yorkshire residents; however, developing neighbourhoods that are resilient, cohesive and sustainable is not always easy.

This collection of free online resources is designed to help and support communities, parishes, villages and neighbourhoods think about their own settings, encourage wider conversations and initiate social action. Ultimately, providing opportunities for all residents in North Yorkshire to engage with neighbours, build stronger connecting networks and create more sustainable communities.

The resources on this page are divided into four sections. The first is intended for use by anyone within a community; from concerned and interested residents to parish councils and neighbourhood groups. These are followed by resources aimed at professionals, where community projects are required as part of wider work or there are larger funding requirements. The next two sections go into further detail on two specific types of approaches for tackling loneliness within communities – Making Every Contact Count and Asset-Based Community Development.

All these resources are free to access and can be shared and utilised across your community or organisation.

Resources for communities.

From top tips, factsheets, toolkits, websites and case studies, there are plenty of resources for you to get your teeth into to help you connect with your community.

Top tips and fact sheets

Building stronger communities poster

For simple suggestions on how to create more cohesive communities, the ‘Building Connected Communities‘ poster provides some valuable ideas and a positive starting point for further local discussion. Hard copies are available from our office on request. Please email

Tips for planning community events

Planning an event in your neighbourhood does not have to be daunting. The 30 things to think about when planning a community event tip sheet from Northumberland CVA is a useful checklist for the planning process.

Engaging with your community

Consulting with your community or neighbourhood before starting a project or initiative is good practice and ensures that the community voice is heard.  A useful starting point for community engagement is the simple to read guide Top tips for engaging your community. For additional advice on how to get the most out of any public consultation the How to listen to your community resource is an additional read.

Local support

If you live in North Yorkshire, our Community Support North Yorkshire team has a wide range of expertise available to help you to grow your project. However large or small, we are here to help.


Need some funding to help your project along? Sign up to our Funding Bulletin to access funding for projects in North Yorkshire.


Where to find useful information

Eden Project Communities has a wide range of resources available on the subject of building communities. This includes a range of ideas that can be replicated in other communities, as well as guides and tools.

Action with Communities Cumbria has a range of toolkits and workbooks available on longer-term projects, including a Community Exchange Toolkit and a Good Neighbours toolkit. If you want to pursue a Good Neighbours Scheme in your community then please get in touch with the Community First Yorkshire team for a discussion.

MyCommunity is a website that has a wide range of resources from a variety of community development organisations. Resources include case studies, guides and information sheets on a comprehensive range of topics.

For information, case studies and guidance on developing community and community businesses The Plunkett Foundation is a good starting point.

The Australian website, Bank of I.D.E.A.S, has lots of resources, case studies and ideas on how to build a community.

Case studies

Get to know your neighbours

How well do you know your neighbours?’: Exploring how little acts of kindness can make a big difference to communities, this case study gives one person’s account of being a good neighbour.

Making use of community space

The story of Stainsacre Social explores what happens when the community takes a disused community space, in this case a disused bus stop, and make it into a space where people can connect.

All it takes is one spark

Shani Graham presents a TEDx talk on a community in Australia where one person sparked change in their local community. You can watch on YouTube.

Small steps can create lasting change

Even doing something as simple as a litter pick can bring about lasting change as this case study from Gilmore Park Community League demonstrates in this video.

Resources for professionals

These resources will help anyone working with communities to get started, make connections and build relationships.

Find resources

Top tips and factsheets

Top tips for community engagement is a guide aimed at people who are working in communities and a useful source of information when setting up a community engagement project.

One of the challenges as a professional working in community projects is how to engage with residents. The fact sheet on How to get and keep local people involved in your work is an excellent starting point to developing resident engagement.


Community Cohesion and participation – A Practical Framework from Involve is a framework that can be used to kick start and develop work to build communities.

The Community Planning Toolbox has links to a range of planners, forms and templates useful for any community development work.

Timebanking could be one way for an organisation to develop community networks, encourage skill sharing and build community action in their local setting. For an overview, watch Timebanking in the UK: It’s About Time by Sarah Bird or for more information and guidance visit the Timebanking website.

If you work in the VCSE sector and want to understand if your activities help people feel less lonely, then read A Brief Guide to Measuring Loneliness by What Works Centre for Wellbeing. It incorporates the DCMS and ONS measuring tools found in the national loneliness strategy.

Making Every Contact Count (MECC)

The Making Every Contact Count programme, developed by Public Health England, recognises that small conversations made within both traditional health and community settings such as libraries, business and hospitality can have far-reaching implications for the well-being and health of the individual.


Questions and actions to take

The Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Network have developed a toolbox of questions and actions for use as brief interventions by someone concerned about a customer, client or service user who may be socially isolated or experiencing loneliness.

The network also has a range of videos, case studies and presentations available to highlight how these may be used.


More in depth MECC training is available through the NHS e-Learning for Health Care website.

MECC webinar

Originally created for businesses within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty this webinar explains why tackling loneliness maters in our communities and how having connecting conversations, using the Making Every Contact Count approach, can help them be stronger and more resilient.


Resource sheet

Asset-Based Community Development

ABCD stands for Asset-Based Community Development and refers to a type of community development based on the work of Professors Jody Kretzmann and John McKnight. It challenges the traditional deficit-based approach, by focusing on the strengths and assets which a community, neighbourhood or area may have rather than perceived needs and deficiencies.

ABCD demonstrates that local assets (people, physical assets etc) and individual strengths are key to ensure sustainable community development, and that people have a life of their own choosing.

ABCD resources

Toolkits, blogs and videos to guide you

Discover more on the principles of ABCD.

Read a blog on how ABCD worked in practice in Bristol.

Watch the TEDx talk “Sustainable community development: from what’s wrong to what’s strong” by Cormac Russell.

Additional information on ABCD can also be found in the Well Doncaster ABCD Toolkit, while a video by the Scottish Community Development Centre on Community Capacity Building gives an interesting insight.

An e-book by Clear Impact provides information on how Asset Mapping and ABCD can work together.

For a local perspective follow the blog of our Rothwell ABCD worker, Miranda Foster.