Bank of I.D.E.A.S - Peter Kenyon

The Bank of I.D.E.A.S. have just recently had the privilege of hosting Cormac Russell from Nurture Development across Australia for a series of workshops and consultations. Cormac generously shared the wealth of knowledge and stories he has accumulated during his many years as a leading global practitioner in the field of Asset-Based Community Development.

Cormac’s understanding of, and ability to demystify the core concepts of ABCD is unparalleled. Cormac’s unique ability to clearly and succinctly convey his thoughts and ideas has left no one who attended his sessions in doubt of what ABCD is really about. Thanks Cormac for your amazing contribution to community development in Australia.

Barnwood Trust - Philip Booth and Maureen Rowcliffe-Quarry, You’re Welcome Guides

We have had the pleasure of working alongside Jennine as Community Guides for over a year. Jennine is wonderfully approachable and connects easily with everyone. Her experience of community building in many different situations and communities is massive. We have hugely welcomed her generosity and willingness to share her experiences and knowledge – but also her openness to learn in new situations. We have both learnt lots and continue to value her support and great questions.

Barnwood Trust - Richard Holmes

Jennine Bailey has been supporting the You’re Welcome team to develop their community building practice over the last year. She has provided insightful reflection and challenge that has enabled team members to act with confidence and clarity.

Her friendly and approachable style has enabled her to develop close relationships, and provide appropriate levels of guidance, modelling when to step back and when to intervene. Her involvement with our team is enabling them to hold the principles and practices of asset based community development.

Jennine has also played a critical role in supporting the development of data collection tools, to capture the impact of the community building work.

Barnwood Trust - Sally Byng

Jennine Bailey has been working with Barnwood Trust for over a year. She began by supporting our inclusive community building team in developing its practice in community building out on the streets of Gloucestershire by working alongside them and modelling practice, which was hugely helpful as a practical way of learning the skills and techniques. She has gone on to deliver workshops to mixed audiences of residents and professionals with an interest in ABCD, and has brought ABCD practice to life for people in a governance role.

Added to that she has also facilitated events and groups and provided coaching in ABCD practice one-to-one as well as supported community builders to learn about asset mapping. So as well as being good at what she does, Jennine is a constructive and positive presence, bringing energy and liveliness with whoever she works with. We are pleased that our work with her will be continuing in 2016.


We initially contracted Cormac Russell and the team from Nurture Development to run a series of 12 workshops over a year, to introduce Asset-Based Community Development to Gloucestershire. We wanted to see what appetite there might be here for us to use it as a tool in contributing to the achievement of our vision and 10 year plan to build more inclusive and welcoming communities across the county. Four years later we are still working with them, which speaks for itself!

The reasons why? There was enthusiasm from people in all kinds of roles, and none, across the county for ABCD. People got the idea, aspired to be able to live it, and wanted to understand more to be able to apply it themselves. The whole philosophy and clear methodology of ABCD has provided the right foundations for building progressively, at people-pace, towards a long-term vision. And if it is at people-pace it will work because it will have the roots needed to sustain change.

But we have seen first-hand how much support we all need to learn to work in this way, unlearning some of institutional habits we have got into, and reflecting on our disconnections from life lived in communities. So we continue to work with the burgeoning team at Nurture Development and continue to learn about ABCD and its practice. They always challenge but in a way that you can hear if you listen. They are fun to work with to boot!

Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport - Paul Melia

As a member of Canada’s True Sport Movement, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport invited Cormac Russell of Nurture Development to provide a two day ABCD training session followed by a one day master class for some of our key stakeholders.

By the end of the first day Cormac had exceeded our expectations and had set the stage for what would be three wonderful days of exploration, collaboration and learning. Cormac’s knowledge of the topic area, his adaptable nature and his ability to bring the presentation to life through storytelling provided each participant with the opportunity to identify with the ABCD concept and envision how it might influence their work.

From start to finish the team at Nurture Development were professional and a pleasure to work with and most importantly Cormac provided our sector with information that we hope to use to make a difference in the lives of Canadians through sport.

Church Urban Fund - Bethany Eckley

It has been a real pleasure to work with Nurture Development. Cormac has spoken at several of our events and has always been a big hit. He combines humour with a real depth of insight into the problems of our day, whilst also casting a compelling vision of how things can be different. Always an inspiration!

Engage Visually - Debbie Roberts

My experience of working with Cormac Russell on a 2 day workshop on Assets Based Community Development ABCD.

As a graphic facilitator I attend many events on all sorts of topics but attending a two day workshop on Assets Based Community Development ABCD with Cormac was one of the most significant that I have been part of. The West London Collaborative had brought together service users, patients, carers, commissioners and providers (voluntary and public sector). Cormac  guided the two day workshop and did a genius of a job of sharing with the audience the potential in each of us and in each community to be leading our own solutions. 

Through a mix of stories, evidence from studies and interactive exercises the 100 strong attendees explored the ideas within ABCD. The thrust was that whilst ABCD never suggests replacing services it does suggest that the role of services is not to replace community. The role and place of community and services have been blurred and confused in recent decades and the disempowerment of community’s has led to ever increasing dependence on services that can never truly fill the needs they identify. The workshop carried the audience to the knowledge that communities are sitting on their own untapped resources and capabilities to thrive. Commissioners have roles to play in supporting, reigniting and tapping these potentials but in a way that ensures the community is leading the way. To get the recipe right empowered communities need to be liberated to use their own assets to regain their health and vitality and that within each community lies great skills, abilities, capacity and assets. Cormacs approach was enabling and illuminating and over the two days the many people began important conversations about how they would begin this revitalizing of their communities. Cormac’s style whilst challenging also achieved a strong sense of cohesion within the hall, of solving these issues together and of an excitement to start now.

To a large degree the content I have heard before but it had not reached me and had not appeared to reach people in the room in the same way as this. Cormac’s straight talking and very clear grounded knowledge alongside his ability in the wise use of stories gave great depth to the days. Cormac’s skill to deliver vital transformation recipes and creation of action by the end of the workshops brought a sense of completion alongside a sense of beginning.

Gloucestershire County Council - Jane Everiss

Society of Chief Librarians

Cormac kindly agreed to attend our annual Seminar in June 2017 to talk about libraries being the animator for community building. His session took place after lunch on the final day of the seminar, however he kept the whole room enthralled when recounting his experiences and in particular how the community of Kulin came together to revitalise their own community. Attendees found his session “powerful, positive and uplifting” and he taught us to start with what’s strong rather than what’s wrong. His ability to explain the concept of Asset Based Community Development in a way that showed us how libraries can become great curators of a civic conversation was “brilliant and well presented”. I am sure that this concept will be taken back to libraries throughout the Country.

Mrs Jane Everiss
Head of Library Services
Gloucestershire County Council

Highlands and Islands Enterprise - Sandra Holmes

Thank you so much for such an inspiring and thought provoking presentation at our Strengthening Communities National Conference 2017. The content was totally ‘on message’ with the theme of our conference and your delivery was first class; no, it was more than this – it was faultless. Your contribution resonated strongly with delegates and was very well received. Your input contributed in no small measure to a very successful event.

Our sincere thanks, Sandra Holmes, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, September 2017

HSC Voices - Scott Bell

We found Cormac a very insightful leader who left a positive impression on all involved with HSCVoices. I like to be challenged to look at things differently and I found that Cormac has the ability to do that.

When facilitating our event he showed a good understanding of the audience and made me feel more confident when it came to compering the event. One regular attendee of our network and learning events said it was the best event they had attended by far.

As a healthcare professional I found Cormac’s perspective valuable and has shone a different light on how I will be looking at care from now on.

JUST Lincolnshire - Wesley Shelbourne

JUST Lincolnshire’s relationship with Nurture Development has closely informed the values of the organization and how we seek to engage with others. Nurture Development has opened up the horizons for JUST Lincolnshire, in terms of new approaches to our work.

Not only has Nurture Development impacted on us as an organization but has begun to develop how other groups in Lincolnshire are approaching their engagement with communities.

The openness and integrity of Nurture Development is an example for many of us seeking to serve the communities of which we are a part.

Leeds City Council - Emma Carter

Nurture Development have both inspired and challenged us in our attempts to take a more asset-based approach in Leeds. Their support has been invaluable in helping us to reflect on our practice and encouraging us when we have hit a stumbling block.

Being part of a Learning Site has taught me not to underestimate the time that is needed to make connections. The big difference has definitely been triggered by Community Builders and Connectors having conversations.

It takes time.

You can’t use a conventional project management approach. There is not a way to anticipate what is going to come out of this.

Public Health NHS Ayrshire & Arran - Anne Clarke

Working with Nurture Development over the last few years has been valuable to our project. Their knowledge and expertise in relation to asset-based approaches is second to none and mentoring of staff and facilitation at workshops always generates creative and enthusiastic thinking opportunities.

Cormac and the team are very flexible, adaptable and nothing is ever a problem. A professional organisation that will support you in any way to meet your aims and objectives. Thank you for taking us on this journey.

Social Work Scotland

Cormac’s presentation resonated with everyone and articulated perfectly where Social Work professionals want to be with their practice and approach to supporting people.

We have already booked Cormac for our next event.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust - Dominic Lodge

Southern Health is a large NHS Foundation Trust. We have more than 8,000 members of staff who have strengths and assets as citizens, as individuals. Collectively that is a powerful force for good.

In our work with Nurture Development we have explored ways to ‘let go’, see life beyond services and to encourage the health giving connections and associational life that people in our care have.

It has been an illuminating experience. Nurture Development has shone a light and it is a light I would highly and heartily recommend to others.

The Centre for Social Justice - DR Jeffrey W. Bailey (Previous Managing Director)

Having observed firsthand the remarkable and ground-breaking work of Jim Diers in Seattle, and Cormac Russell in Ireland, we are convinced that they are are demonstrating the kind of tangible models for citizen-led, neighbourhood-based social change that many of us have been looking for.

The work of Nurture Development offers genuinely transformative ways forward for communities and local authorities across the country.

The Isle of Wight Public Health Team in Southampton - Chad Oatley

The conversations and relationship building with Nurture Development has enabled Public Health to connect and engage with a range of diverse people in communities that are now applying ABCD principles in practice to build, strengthen and create inclusive and well-resourced communities on the Isle of Wight as part of an approach to improving health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities.

This experience has added-value to our Public Health practice in working alongside colleagues and communities, and we are committed to growing this relationship with Nurture Development to better enable Public Health to empower citizen-led community development practice.

Thornton Heath Resident

ABCD is great. For someone who hasn’t been in the area for a year yet I have met many people and know much more about what is available and how to access it especially as the mother of young children.

On a wider level I feel that the connections I have made offered something much needed to others in the area and was done in a way that is open to them. There are many things to share.

The Wellspring Foundation - Richard Taylor

Cormac Russell and Nurture Development have been instrumental in helping The Wellspring Foundation and its partners learn how to apply an Asset-Based approach (ABCD) in Rwandan schools. Their investment into Wellspring and our partners in local government and the Education Coordination Platform (RENCP) will make a significant difference in the Rwandan education system.

As an organization seeking to truly empower educators in post-conflict Rwanda, we have found the greatest barrier to building vibrant schools in is the scarcity mentality created by years of dependency on foreign agencies and aid organizations.

Cormac Russell and Nurture Development have been instrumental in helping The Wellspring Foundation and its partners learn how to apply an asset-based approach (ABCD) in Rwandan schools.

Cormac and his colleague Brian Nugent have a wealth of experience in successfully applying ABCD principles with communities, governments, and organizations in North America, Europe, and Africa. Their investment into Wellspring and our partners in local government and the Education Coordination Platform (RENCP) will make a significant difference in the Rwandan education system.

As Rwandan schools embrace ABCD, they will be able to increasingly harness the power within their own community to accomplish things they never before thought possible.

Thurrock Council - Les Billingham

Council has been working in collaboration with Nurture Development over the last two years implementing Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) within the local authority area. Nurture, as an organisation has shown through that period that they are remarkably supportive, innovative and passionate about their role in stimulating community development, and totally committed to the vision that informs ABCD.

In Cormac Russell, Nurture has a very charismatic, strong and empathetic leader, an individual who is able to inspire and inform across a very broad audience, comfortable talking to professionals who are leaders in their field but also able to reach people who are at the margins, in an intimate community setting.

ABCD advocates community development that is bottom up and sustainable. The role of professionals within this context is clearly one of initial leadership and stimuli, however there is also a robust expectation that the community take control of the process and embed the practice to ensure ongoing resilience.

It is impossible to see how ABCD could be delivered in a credible way without the support, knowledge skill and experience that Nurture and Cormac bring to bear on the issue.

If you believe, as we do in Thurrock, in the principles of ABCD, that is strength rather than need, gift giving and reciprocity, active citizens not passive recipients and power vested in those that can do the most good; then it is difficult to see how this vision for cultural change and innovation could be made real and sustainable without the support of Nurture Development.