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Building a community to be proud of

We are proud of our excellent track record of collaborative place based leadership to date and have learnt an enormous amount about how to engage local people and the wider systems with authenticity and purpose. As such, the appetite for learning and building active, healthy communities is now shared by a growing network of partners and is demonstrated by our whole system approach which focuses on a wider geographical area than just New Parks.

Through our community based work we have recognised that traditional methods of creating change that involve ‘top down’ or ‘bottom up’ approaches lead to linear silos. Our approach of building communities from the inside out has avoided the silo effect and ensured common purpose towards whole system changes.

We have recognised that organisations and communities are interlinked and interdependent, therefore a system perspective is at the centre of all our work, not just within the realm of sport and physical activity but across the healthcare, social care and public health system as well as more broadly across the 'place shaping agenda'.

Our approach to place leadership applies equally to local leaders within communities and to organisational leaders, strategic influencers and political leaders. We believe and work on the principle that true collaboration has no hierarchy and builds on the logic that partnership is the union which enables all parties to do something together that they cannot do alone. Genuine collaboration within a complex system as required adaptive practice by all involved and we are developing this through all our strategies.

Working in such uncertain, diverse and complex communities where approaches do not yield their normal expected results. We have needed to work flexibly as we encounter unprecedented situations and as our understanding of the local community grows.

Over time we have developed our local knowledge and intelligence which we now share with partners from the Public Sector, Third Sector and, where relevant and appropriate, the Private Sector. Our asset based community development approach is well recognised and we have started to share our success to create active vibrant communities and reducing health inequalities across the city, county and the country.

We have started to create a whole system change by doing things together, by modelling leadership practice and behaviours and by encouraging and enabling leadership at every level, particularly locally where individuals and whole communities own the shift that they create, supported by our services, infrastructure and assets where appropriate.

Through 8 years of hard work we are starting to see a culture shift whereby regular sport and physical activity is not just normal, but it is seen as central to good health and wellbeing, which in turn is creating a community to be proud of.