LAURA LOVES, LAURA LOATHES
Laura Graham gives a personal perspective on the news, trends, people and events she encounters as she travels across the country. In this issue, she loves abundance and sharing of assets and gifts in ‘communities’ but loathes silence enforced against the public interest.
Laura Loves… The Abundant Community, an inspirational book by John McKnight and Peter Block (2012, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco). This publication demonstrates the power of Asset Based Community Development – ABCD – a developmental model that focuses on the strengths which individuals and communities have, and presents a shift away from the traditional disempowering deficit model of what they need.
A key feature of ABCD is the connections and relationships we make and the power of creating new connections so that our support networks grow. A benefit of this model is that it is community based, where we give and receive in the area in which we live and where we connect with others. This decreases dependence on professionals, specialists and government bodies. This model accepts that health and wellbeing is not found in a clinical setting but in community – which, in this context, is used as a general term to describe what occurs outside of “systems” and “institutions” and can apply to an “aggregation of people” that have something in common or an “affinity”.
The book explains that there are universal properties in an abundant community. These include:
o the giving of ‘gifts’ – gifts are the strengths that we all possess and can share with others
o the presence of association – the joining of the gifts together so that they become amplified, magnified, productive and celebrated
o the compulsion of hospitality – in which abundant communities welcome strangers in order to increase and share gifts.
One of the key tenets of the abundant community is living “in the reality of the human condition” where the community has the capacity to provide what is needed in the face of an uncertain future, accepting that sorrow, illness, failure, misfortune, joy and celebration are natural and inevitable. This philosophy is like self-help, mutual aid and is within us all! All it takes is for us to realise our individual and community assets… and share them with all who cross our paths! Everyone is welcome!!
LAURA LOATHES… silence. In June, I joined the campaign for libel reform. This decision was driven by the increasing pressure for us to remain silent about negative developments in the addiction field. As libel law currently stands, we can be sued for writing about charlatans, for providing reasoned debate about research, or for critiquing a report, practice, organisation or an individual. We can be armed with the facts, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but still be sued. Currently, publishing these facts in the public interest carries no weight.
The libel reform campaign has many supporters and I joined them recently at the House of Commons… Read more in the pdf above.