Village In The City


Cormac Russell and The Connected Community

Ep. 12

Join Mark McKergow and international ABCD guru Cormac Russell as they discuss Cormac's new book The Connected Community (with John McKnight). They discuss why connecting the community is so important, the critical role of discovering what's there already, and how to encourage neighbours to enhance their communities. Cormac reveals his 'tapestry weaving' metaphor for community development, which isn't in the book! We have questions from the USA, Ghana and Ireland about the role of local government, how to get involved in ABCD in an international setting, and thoughts on violence reduction (or is it?) with lessons from the USA and Scotland.

Links mentioned during the call:

Info and buy the book at

Wellspring Foundation’s work in Rwanda: and

Robert Sampson (re community safety)

The Blueprint for Peace

Lots more resources, podcasts, online connection for community builders and more at .

About the book:

Find out how to uncover the hidden talents, assets, and abilities in your neighborhood and bring them together to create a vibrant and joyful community. It takes a village!

We may be living longer, but people are more socially isolated than ever before. As a result, we are hindered both mentally and physically, and many of us are looking for something concrete we can do to address problems like poverty, racism, and climate change. What if solutions could be found on your very doorstep or just two door knocks away?

Cormac Russell is a veteran practitioner of asset-based community development (ABCD), which focuses on uncovering and leveraging the hidden resources, skills, and experience in our neighborhoods. He and John McKnight, the cooriginator of ABCD, show how anyone can discover this untapped potential and connect with his or her neighbors to create healthier, safer, greener, more prosperous, and welcoming communities. They offer a wealth of illustrative examples from around the world that will inspire you to explore your own community and discover its hidden treasures.

More Episodes


Last Aid: Supporting the dying in your local community

Ep. 10
How can we act in a human way in that most difficult situation - when someone in our community is dying? The Last Aid project and course can help you. Mark talks to Susan Speke and Siobhan Neylon from Highland Hospice in Inverness who offer Last Aid training and support in the UK ( We discuss how dealing with death can and should be part of a community's response, why this is seen as such a difficult topic and how Last Aid's ideas and resources can help anyone become better and more comfortable about working with both the dying and those around them. Many people want to die at home, yet in western countries most die in institutions like hospitals and nursing homes. The Last Aid project helps to educate the community about the basics of palliative care and care for dying people. These courses are delivered using materials developed by Last Aid International. More than 10,000 people have already participated in Last Aid courses and more than 1,500 trainers have been trained across many European countries including Denmark, Switzerland, France, Germany, Slovenia, Lithuania, Ireland, Austria and Scotland, and around the world including Australia and Canada. Links: Highland Hospice Last Aid courses online and IRL: Last Aid project website information (in English and German): #AssetBasedCommunityDevelopment #ABCD #VillageInTheCity

Episode 9: Safe strong cohesive communities with Dilia Swart, Protection Approaches

Dilia Swart talks about her work in building strong safe communities to protect people from identity-based violence in London and elsewhere.The latest Village In The City podcast welcomes Dilia Swart of Protection Approaches to talk about their work in building communities as a means of working to prevent identity-based violence. Protection Approaches was established as a UK charity in 2014 working to end all forms of identity-based violence motivated by the perpetrator's conceptualisation of their victim's identity, for example their race, gender, sexuality, religion or political affiliation. It encompasses hate crime, violent extremism, and genocide and affects individuals as well as entire groups or communities all around the world.A key part of this work is helping to build active, safe and strong communities where marginalised communities and voices are included. They work to broker new and sustainable community relationships that will facilitate community-led change in some of London’s most disadvantaged boroughs, and also run (very good) community development programmes supported by the Mayor of London and the Home Office. These programme aim to encouraging community-led responses to hate crime and the prejudice and marginalisation that can lead to such crimes.Dilia Swart is Senior Education Officer at Protection Approaches, and leads the delivery of their education programme working with schools to promote positive school cultures that foster tolerance and build resilience to divisive narratives. She was the co-founder of the Mostar Summer Youth Programme, an educational project in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and has degrees from Harvard and SOAS. Dilia and her colleagues share how the particularly tough issues of identity based violence can be tackled from a community perspective and share her experiences of working in London and elsewhere. The call was recorded in March 2021.