Hi all,

this is some brief notes of a brief discussion yesterday in Manchester - I thought I'd copy it over to this group too - Community Development learning is not as supported on a national level as well as it once was, with the challenges that have faced CDX and FCDL.  Maybe time to start seeing what we can create here or share that's already happening....?

Open Space discussion at Manchester Starfish meeting, MERCi, 11th June 2013 on -

Community Development (CD) learning and volunteering

Key points and questions:

  • learning gets airbrushed out of CD interventions
  • CD national bashing - from government AND parts of voluntary sector.
  • CD dilemma - (how) do you bite the hand that feeds you?  Challenge the hand (benign or otherwise) insidiously....
  • encouraging and transforming power, equality and critical questions
  • how to inspire people to volunteer - hard without structure/appreciation; Recognition could support this (Sostenga able to offer this 'qualification without paperwork', taster training & mentoring).  Pennine Care NHS use a Tameside volunteer reward scheme which gives people certificates and makes a bit of a fuss of them.  
  • concern about why people volunteer these days - taking on state services.  Ideally - empowerment, sharing values, to create change, giving back to the community, feeling human if supported and treated well.
  • grassroots are radical.  Community Organisers aim to find 10 volunteers/leaders and 5 projects, through talking to 500 people each to find out what communities' agendas are. 
  • autonomy and space within Community Organising is great though too little support to COs; how to move beyond (very) local to take wider control?
  • people not seeing themselves as part of communities
  • using pots of state money that are around

The discussion felt like a beginning, at least to me, without the time to get to ideas for action; to any of the 7 in the group, do please make additions or corrections below to my jottings - thanks.

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Open Space discussion at Manchester Starfish meeting, MERCi, 11th June 2013 on -

Community Development (CD) learning and volunteering

Key points and questions:

  • learning gets airbrushed out of CD interventions
  • CD national bashing - from government AND parts of voluntary sector.
  • CD dilemma - (how) do you bite the hand that feeds you?  Challenge the hand (benign or otherwise) insidiously....
  • encouraging and transforming power, equality and critical questions
  • how to inspire people to volunteer - hard without structure/appreciation; Recognition could support this (Sostenga able to offer this 'qualification without paperwork', taster training & mentoring).  Pennine Care NHS use a Tameside volunteer reward scheme which gives people certificates and makes a bit of a fuss of them.  
  • concern about why people volunteer these days - taking on state services.  Ideally - empowerment, sharing values, to create change, giving back to the community, feeling human if supported and treated well.
  • grassroots are radical.  Community Organisers aim to find 10 volunteers/leaders and 5 projects, through talking to 500 people each to find out what communities' agendas are. 
  • autonomy and space within Community Organising is great though too little support to COs; how to move beyond (very) local to take wider control?
  • people not seeing themselves as part of communities
  • using pots of state money that are around

The discussion felt like a beginning, at least to me, without the time to get to ideas for action; to any of the 7 in the group, do please make additions or corrections below to my jottings - thanks.

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