Strong Communities overview

This resource will be particularly useful for communities that are disadvantaged, isolated, or experience a higher risk of alcohol and other drug-related issues; all of which have been identified by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) as priority areas.

What are strong and connected communities?

The Strong and Connected Communities toolkit outlines a number of evidence-informed approaches to build strong, resilient, connected and harmonious communities in order to help prevent alcohol and other drug-related harms.

Building strong and connected communities includes action to increase community engagement, participation and sense of belonging in the local setting, and action to improve the overall amenity of local facilities and communal spaces.[1] [2] [3]

Which target audience/s should strong and connected communities focus on?

Strong and connected communities can be beneficial for individuals, families as well as the whole community. This resource primarily focuses on improving outcomes for communities as a whole.[4]

Community members know their communities best and have a huge opportunity to effect change. Whether a community is defined by a geographical area, religion, cultural background, language or just shared interests, the people within a community are essential to preventing alcohol and other drug-related harm.

The ADF embraces a broad definition of community, including geographic communities (people who share physical space), communities of interest (people who share identity, values, beliefs and social norms), and virtual communities (people who interact via technology).


How do strong and connected communities help to prevent alcohol and other drug-related issues?

Communities that are strong, resilient, connected and harmonious are less likely to experience alcohol and other drug-related harms.[5]

Community characteristics such as cohesion, inclusivity, cooperation, and stability, where people enjoy positive relationships and have a sense of belonging and inclusivity, protect the community against alcohol and other drug-related harms.

How effective is a strong and connected communities approach?

Research has consistently shown that improving community cohesion and connectedness can help to prevent alcohol and other drug-related harms, and results in a number of other positive health and social outcomes.[6]

Community action to build strong and connected communities is effective in preventing and reducing alcohol and other drug-related harms.

Action is more effective when it is led by the community, and when a comprehensive approach is used that includes multiple and mutually reinforcing approaches.[7] [8]

Successful prevention campaigns and programs have shown that multiple strategies lead to the greatest change. For an example, refer to the Mt Druitt LDAT Case Study.