Public Interest Seminar: Coping with tough times

Coping with tough times: using an asset-based approach to harness the potential of all of our communities


With a mountain of evidence showing that disabled people, older people and other vulnerable groups are being hit hardest by the downturn and public spending cuts, local authorities and other public services are right to find ways to mitigate the impact.

But in some cases focusing on what people lack can itself be disempowering. Many of the most innovative authorities, public bodies and charities are achieving the best outcomes by helping local people to identify what they have and supporting them to use these assets – skills, networks, ideas, energy – to achieve more with less.

This seminar will focus on the practical insights and reflections from some of the leading pioneers of this kind of asset-based community approach, and offer an opportunity to discuss how this model could be adopted more widely, including for the service users and communities you work with.


  • Jane Vaas, Head of Public Policy at Age UK
  • Fazilet Hadi, Group Director of Inclusive Society at the RNIB
  • Simon Williams, Director of Merton Council’s Community and Housing Department
  • Cllr Sally Prentice, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Lambeth Council

More info

Fellow participants will be senior managers, policy-makers and practitioners from OPM’s public and voluntary sector network, including individuals involved on both the commissioning and provider side of public services. Under Chatham House rules, we will seek your insights and your opinions, and we will publish a short report following the evening.

The seminar will take place at OPM’s offices at 252b Gray’s Inn Road, WC1X 8XG, a ten minute walk from King’s Cross from 6pm (for a 6.15 start) and will be finished by 7.30pm.

For more information please email Mike on or call 020 7239 7839.