Grant will support community building programme in Holbeck

New grants worth £262,500 have been announced to support the expansion of the successful Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) programme across Leeds, with five new ‘pathfinder’ sites receiving grants.

Slung Low, who work in Holbeck, are amongst five successful third sector organisations across the city awarded the ABCD community grants. Although primarily a theatre company, Slung Low run the Cultural Community College, ran a food bank during the pandemic and manage The Holbeck – the oldest working men’s club in britain.

Asset based community development is an approach to sustainable community-driven development, supporting local people to make the changes they want to see in their neighbourhood, developed on the premise that everyone has assets and strengths to contribute to their community.

Pathfinder sites work within their local community to uncover and develop existing strengths and assets of individuals and groups, helping to build social connections and fostering citizen led action.

In 2021 Leeds Beckett University published the findings of an 18-month research study into the ABCD model in Leeds. The evaluation found evidence that individuals were better connected, friendships were made, and supportive relationships were formed during this period across ABCD sites.

Examples of better community cohesion were also found across the ABCD sites, with different generations coming together and communities becoming more inclusive of people with disabilities.

The grants are set to return a significant value of investment for the council, with the Leeds Beckett University study estimated between £5 – £14 of social value is returned for every pound invested into the ABCD community pathfinder programme.

Cllr Fiona Venner, executive member for adults and children social care and health partnerships, said:

“ABCD has been pioneered in Leeds and has been a real success story of how the council has supported communities to create the change they want to see. It is fantastic that we can roll out the programme to a further diverse selection of communities across the city.

“I look forward to seeing the impact that these new ABCD pathfinder grants will have on empowering communities.”

Ruth Saxton, Community Director with Slung Low said:

“The Slung Low team is delighted to be working alongside Holbeck’s ABCD Community Connectors. We feel well placed to steer our shared community in making Holbeck an even better place to live. We’ve started to work with a proactive group of residents who already have some inspiring plans, large and small. We’re very grateful to Leeds City Council for trusting us with this exciting and vital opportunity.”

To find out more about the ABCD programme, visit:


This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council