good life, good death, good grief

Scottish Compassionate Communities Toolkit

Design Principles for Creating a Compassionate Community

Every community is unique, and your community's work to become more compassionate should make sense of the unique strengths, ideas and passions of your local people.

Set out below are a series of 'design principles' that may be of help. They were developed by those involved in establishing and evaluating Compassionate Inverclyde.

The principles below are designed to be helpful, not prescriptive, and should be viewed as a compass and not as a tool kit or route map. Examples from the Compassionate Inverclyde project have been used to illustrate how each principle can be applied in practice.

Design principles

1. Start with community conversations about what matters most to local people.

2 Invest in development support from a trusted, compassionate, authentic and humble leader.

3 Develop collaborative leadership at all levels around a shared purpose and intrinsic values.

4 Anchor the movement with a local community organisation that has a trusted brand.

5 Establish a courageous guiding coalition that gives permission to act, purposefully avoids unnecessary bureaucracy and enables risk taking.

6 Connect as ordinary people, find creative ways to make it easy for local people to volunteer and for everyone to be kind, helpful and to have a can do attitude.

7 Value and empower all contributors and ensure they have a strong and equal voice.

8 Nurture community volunteers through peer support, reflective practice and wholehearted facilitation.

9 Use the power of social media as a practical communication and self-organising tool.

10 Stay curious and keep learning from other compassionate communities.

11 Continue to pay attention to what matters to people and share stories that touch hearts and inspire people to be kind.

12 Plan for a sustainable model of leadership and governance that can exploit synergies with other developments and minimises unintended consequences.


Photo credit: Jordan Madrid

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