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The Power Of Local Community Relations
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The Power Of Local Community Relations


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Describes a participatory mapping exercise to enable local people to capture the extent and power of their networks

Describes a participatory mapping exercise to enable local people to capture the extent and power of their networks

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  • 1. The Power of Community Relationships - a Participatory Training Exercise Paul Cutler
  • 2. The Mapping Exercise
    • A 2 hour workshop session (with breaks) for 25 local stakeholders from the community
    • Participants have a mix of backgrounds including service users, family members, professionals, journalists, business and voluntary sector
    • Representativeness - gender, ethnicity, age, disability and other issues
    • Uses tools and techniques from mapping theories and action research
    • Part of a wider participatory programme and a two day workshop
  • 3. Purpose of the exercise
    • To answer the question what stakeholder groups exist in the local community?
    • To answer the question who might be represented on a local participatory forum?
    • To explore the potential and possibilities of mapping skills and tools
    • To demonstrate the power and diversity of local networks
    • To demonstrate the proximity of powerful actors in the community - ‘2 degrees of separation’
    • To identify excluded stakeholder groups and explore ways of reaching out
    • To map the assets of local knowledge shared by stakeholders and consider the potential of deploying these assets in new ways
  • 4. Strengths of the exercise
    • Creative and holistic
    • Practical - learning by doing
    • Mingling - on hands and knees
    • Breaking down barriers between multi-agency groups
    • Visual and colourful
    • Unlocks hidden or unconscious knowledge and local expertise
    • Illustrates patterns, assumptions and dynamics that stakeholders are not always aware of
    • Surprises people about themselves
    • Contrasts with other sessions in the programme
    • Fun
  • 5. Position in the Participation and Policy programme
    • Development of a local participatory forum
    • Public action for community level learning and change
    • Policy skills workshop
    • Open forum
    • Participatory forum
    • Local action
  • 6. Exercise principles
    • The exercise (like the workshop) is a shared journey and this is clearly communicated
    • Facilitators are participants too and do their own maps
    • Participants own their maps
    • Diversity issues - gender, ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality and literacy
  • 7. Running the exercise - part one
    • Introducing the purpose of the session
    • Introduction to mapping skills
    • Providing the tools - paper, pens, collage material
    • Identifying mapping groups or individuals - stakeholder choice
    • Supporting the participants as they map
    • Managing the time
    • Bringing the participants back to the main group
    • Maps put on the walls and participants have 10 minutes to look at the different maps
  • 8. Running the exercise - part two
    • Group discussion / feedback about the experience of the exercise and the process of mapping
    • Participants (usually three) are asked to volunteer to explain their map to the wider group
    • Facilitators make observational comments and invite reflection from the other participants
    • Map makers supported to annotate their maps where appropriate
    • Group exercise to look at links between stakeholders, access to sources of power and influence
    • Diversity considered and barriers to stakeholder participation - who is missing, who is marginalised?
    • Group summary of original aims of exercise - involvement in participatory forum
    • Facilitators conclude and link outcomes to previous and future sessions of the workshop
  • 9. Outputs from the exercise
    • Maps
    • Annotations and participant analysis
    • Proto-list of forum members
    • Proto-list of stakeholder diversity in the local community
    • Records of discussions, flip charts and other material
  • 10. Outcomes from the exercise
    • Greater awareness of stakeholder relationships
    • Strengthened networks that can be deployed by local people
    • Energy and enthusiasm
    • Trust
    • Confidence - sharing something personal that is recognised as valuable
    • Forum design and development moved forward
    • Mapping skills that can be used in other areas and in the work of the forum
  • 11. Adult learning
    • Learning by doing
    • Unlocking local knowledge and experience in the group
    • Learning as a group
    • Creating a learning environment
    • Using tools, techniques and principles
    • Transferable skills to the real world
    • Space to explore real world case studies and examples - concepts in action
    • Taking responsibility and control of personal and organisational learning
    • Identifying barriers and using community level opportunities to side step them
    • Ground rules, comfort breaks and respect
    • The learning process is the equal of the learning content - sustainable learning and development
  • 12. Capturing the learning
    • The actual maps - on the wall
    • Photos of the maps
    • Flipcharts and records
    • Evaluation forms and feedback
    • Participatory Action Research
    • Life stories
    • Reflective diaries
  • 13. Examples of the mapping
  • 14. Learning from the learning
    • The unexpected networks
    • Hidden capacities and strengths
    • Iterative feedback to improve the quality and effectiveness of professional systems and build new creative stakeholder relationships
    • The service user as expert
    • Taking risks
    • From maps to models….