Illuminating asset-based working

Published: 26 May 2021 
Author: Ruth Pryce 
A set of illustrations with practical examples of the building blocks of asset-based work and what this approach looks like in practice
Photo credit: Hazel Mead

Ruth Pryce, Head of Programme – Young People, introduces our latest resources shining a light on the approach three organisations take that champions young people’s strengths and potential.

you feel ownership, and you feel responsibility, and you feel belonging, and you are even more incentivised to participate”

GirlDreamer Advisory Board Member 

For the last five years, we’ve been championing asset-based approaches in our funding to organisations that support young people. But we know that the language of asset-based working’ can be off-putting – it can feel technical and jargony, which seems at odds with the values and richness of approaches that underpin these ways of working.

The team at PHF and our portfolio of funded organisations have aimed to continually share insight as we go about what asset-based working looks like in practice, how to develop this work further and about the difference this way of working can have, with and for young people. We hope to provide scaffolding for people to more easily relate, adopt and develop these approaches.

Our latest offer is this series of three case studies, supported by the short animation below and a reflective report. We purposefully engaged researchers who weren’t experts in asset-based approaches to bring a fresh perspective, to unpick and illuminate the different approaches organisations are taking in their work with and for young people.

The three featured organisations: Girl Dreamer, The Warren and OTR all, in their own unique ways, demonstrate a profound commitment to working in ways that are asset-based – starting from where young people are, focussing on nurturing strengths, possibilities and aspirations, developing strong and powerful relationships and involving young people in shaping their own solutions and making decisions. This adds up to three powerful, inspiring and quite different examples of practice, which we hope will offer an entry point into these approaches and offer examples of how to build on work to date.

Images: Hazel Mead.

Our aim is to share examples and encourage organisations to explore how they may be asset-based already and what further developments they could make in this way of working. This work complements our independent evaluation, and our work with experienced practitioners and young people to better understand asset-based approaches.

We will continue to fund and champion organisations working in this way, supporting communities of practice; developing practical resources and tools; and encouraging ongoing practice, understanding and development.

We hope you find these resources useful, and would love to hear about your journey towards asset-based practice – what changes have you made?


Head of Programme – Young People