Category Archives: Training

10 leaders complete Two-Day community leadership training

10 leaders from 8 institutions, including four member institutions, attended our first ever Spring Two-Day Training in Community Leadership which took place at MK Quaker Centre on Fri-Sat 22nd-23rd March.

Funded by MK Community Foundation, the training taught the universal concepts of Power and Self-interest and the tools of Community Organising.

Trainees came with a range of motivations including: to understand a methodology to drive change, strengthen my institution, engage with the wider school community, organise diverse communities, develop my own and my students’ leadership, find out more about power, help parents set up a PTA in my school, get rid of the prejudice in society.

A short questionnaire after the course, asking about self-perception Before and After, yielded the following results:

  • 110% average increase in ‘My awareness of tools for building relational power (3.9 to 8.2 out of 10)
  • 98% average increase in ‘My confidence in my community leadership’ (3.3 to 6.8 out of 10)
  • 32% increase in ‘My motivation to make positive change in my community’ (6.9 to 9.1 out of 10).

After the course, participants said they’d benefited most from: the techniques and strategies, practical tools, feeling empowered, feeling more useful to society.

Kirsty Forshaw of MK Green Alliance said: “Thanks for all your support on the course. I found it really worthwhile and will be encouraging others to do it too. It’s given me the kick-start I needed to have a more focused approach to how I can make positive change in my community. “

“I intend now to mobilise the community and start dreaming big about using some of the other green spaces in Conniburrow,” said Kirsten Jeffery of Big Local Conniburrow.

“I will now start gathering information from the children and what they’d like to change,” said Deborah Griffiths of Jubilee Wood Primary School. Her school colleague, Sagarika Chakravarti, said: “I’ll definitely that each and every member of staff (at my school) should join this course.”

In post-session evaluation, participants gave an aggregate score of 8.5/10.

Click here to see video of participants’ comments on the course.

Click here for Saira’s testimony.

Those who attended the course were:

AndyCoatonCLT Steering Group
CatherineWilliamsLord Grey School
CraigWarneNASUWT
DeborahGriffithsJubilee Wood Primary School
KirstenJefferyBig Local Conniburrow
KirstyForshawMK Green Alliance
SagarikaChakravartiJubilee Wood Primary School
SairaSajidMK Academy
SharonGhouilaMK Green Alliance
TomBartlettAspire

Student takes action to raise confidence through conversations

In January Fraser Sones (pictured right), a sixth form student at Stantonbury International, joined other students from Stantonbury and The Radcliffe School in a new ‘Anger to Action’ leadership training course run by Citizens:mk with funding from MK Community Foundation.

When prompted to think about what made him angry about unfairness in his community, Fraser said it was the lack of conversation between students in the sixth form. “I want there to be more meaningful conversations,” he said, “and I’m worried that this isn’t happening due to a lack of social skills relating to greater risk of mental health problems.”

With help from Citizens:mk’s Community Organiser, Fraser conducted research to show that many Stantonbury students had a low number of conversations which students outside their immediate friendship groups…and decided to take action.

He organised a series of meeting with power holders within the Stantonbury Sixth Form, primarily the teachers and managers, for permission to advertise and run a half-hour session of conversation circles. This involved pairs of students talking to one another in a carousel of five-minute conversations about topics they were interested in, including current stresses and future plans.

On the day, 22 students participated and 20 completed evaluation questionnaires which showed:

  • 46% increase in ‘I feel self-confident’
  • 41% increase in ‘I relate well to my fellow students’
  • 30% increase in ‘I have a positive attitude to life’.

Not a bad set of data from just 30 minutes of activity!

Some of the participants’ comments afterwards were:

  • “Incredibly useful, I was able to talk to people I don’t usually talk with and form new relationships”
  • “This has really improved my social anxiety slight(ly) and has worked on how socially awkward I am.”
  • “I never realised how happy I was to meet other people, people were ready to open up”
  • “I met people I’ve wanted to talk to before but were too shy or felt that it would’ve been weird.”

Fraser is in discussion with the power-holders among Stantonbury International staff about which direction to take next with this exciting initiative.

Dave Smeath, Head of Year 12 at Stantonbury International, said: “This unique event was a great success, and a credit to Fraser. I hope that the students who took part will now feel confident to speak to others. I look forward to seeing this work grow”

St. Monica’s Pupils Create Fundraising Ideas

As part their fourth Citizens:mk training session this school year, school councillors and other pupils from St. Monica’s Catholic Primary School met with Hannah O’Meara from MK Community Foundation to brainstorm ideas for fundraising for the international charity, Missio.

I loved visiting the school and working with the pupils,” said Hannah Meara, “especially their creativity and listening to each other.”

Teacher Eleanor Day said:  “It was a great chance for our school council to understand the processes involved in organising fundraising events.”

Stantonbury and radcliffe sixth formers start social action course

14 students have commenced Citizens:mk’s first ever community leadership training course for school sixth formers, ‘Anger To Action’, funded by MK Community Foundation.

Nine students from The Radcliffe School joined five students at Stantonbury International for the first full-day of training on 11th January.

During the training day, students were taught the core concepts and tools of community organising, including: power, power analysis, self-interest, stick person, relationships and 121s, leadership and broad-based organisation, and the cycle of research, action and evaluation.

Students heard from two witnesses, Linda McComie and Hala Alify from Trubys Garden Tea Room, both members of Citizens:mk’s Leadership Group.

In post event evaluation discussion, participants gave the training day a score of 8/10.

In individual feedback questionnaires, students showed the following increase in confidence before/after the training day:

240% increase (from average 3.2 to 7.7 out of 10) for ‘I am aware of the tools needed for building relational power’

173% increase (from average 4.2 to 7.3 out of 10) for ‘I am confident in my community leadership’

171% increase (from average 4.9 to 8.3 out of 10) for ‘I am motivated to make positive change in my community’.

One student wrote: “I enjoyed the quick pace activities as it allowed us to get through multiple things and stopped us from getting distracted or bored. I learnt about how much I actually have an opinion on how to improve my community.”

Another student wrote: “I really enjoyed discussing issues in detail with people from a different but similar school.”

Another student wrote: “I liked learning about the process needed to make a change, finding out the things I’m passionate to change, and meeting new people who can help me do it.”

Nearly every student wrote about how they had enjoyed meeting and working with students from another school.

The students will meet weekly until the end of Spring Term to develop and deliver social action campaigns in their local community.

“It was a real privilege to observe the students from both schools having the courage to work together so openly and develop skills in 1:1 communication,  identifying relational power, power analysis and leadership,” said Sarah Chapman, Assistant head of Sixth Form at The Radcliffe School. ” A great opportunity for our students – I’m very excited to see what they achieve in their projects.”

18 leaders attend first Study Action training morning

18 leaders from 10 civil society institutions, including 7 member institutions, attended Citizens:mk’s first ever Study Action training morning.  The session was led by Jonathan Cox, Deputy Director of Citizens UK.

Building on the methodology of community organising, the aim of the session was to bring leaders together to organise a ‘study action’ in January from which all would learn best practice for their own campaigns and institutions.

The theme was ‘unfairness in the workplace’ and the session began by hearing a wide range of testimonies from participants about injustices they had experienced at work, led by Hala Afify’s story of Zero hours contract termination.  Other issues highlighted included discrimination in screening of job applications, uncertain probationary arrangements, unfair notice arrangements, lack of pay for work travel time and low pay generally.

The training focused on planning for action using 5 steps (see HANDOUT (from Citizens Cymru Wales):

  • Organise a diverse alliance
  • Listen to your community
  • Plan a strategic response to the issue – identify the problem, break into an issue which winnable and worthwhile, who are the people with the power?
  • Take Action to get a Reaction
  • Get a seat at the table and Negotiate.

“What I liked was meeting other members of Citizen:mk and knowing that we can work together for the common good,” said Philip Demarco of St. Frideswide’s Church.  “What was re-enforced for me,was that ‘ordinary people’ can achieve great things if they go about matters in a peaceful, cohesive and just way.”

“Building a wider community alliance is both empowering and powerful,” said Rachel Redford of The Open University.  “What I liked about this training session was realising that changing perspective and shaping perceptions changes everything. There is always a way. Re-evaluation with a strong alliance are powerful tools to finding the way.”

One of the ideas emerging was that Citizens:mk might target local employers to lead a new ‘Community Jobs Compact’ (like the one organised by Wales Citizens), including fair recruitment practices (name/address blind, maybe age too) and Unconscious Bias training for interview panelists, Real Living Wage and secure contracts and progression opportunities for workers.

The group resolved to undertake an action  to find out more about the experiences of workers at MK Dons’ stadium (stewards, caterers, cleaners) on Saturday 5th January 2019.  10 leaders agreed to meet for lunch at 12.30pm in IKEA, then proceed to the MK Dons v Oldham football match, talk to stadium workers, and evaluate soon after the game ends at 5pm.

If you or anyone you know is interested to join this research action, please contact Community Organiser Tom Bulman.

63 pupils complete One-Day School Councillor Training

On Friday 5th October, 63 pupils from five member schools completed Citizens:mk’s annual One-Day School Councillor Training, this year hosted by St. Paul’s Catholic School.  The other schools were Jubilee Wood, St. Monica’s, Southwood and Summerfield primary schools.

The theme for the Training was Refugees Welcome.  The pupils heard testimonies from two Syrian teenagers who were welcomed in Milton Keynes two years ago; also from British Red Cross, who facilitated their settlement and Ian Fraser, Head Teacher of Summerfield School, who was involved in welcoming refugees in his previous MK primary school.

Representatives from MK Council, Thames Valley Police, NASUWT Teachers Union and Citizens UK presented ideas of campaign goals which the pupils might adopt, relating to hate crime awareness.

The pupils discussed and voted to campaign for the following:

The pupils prioritised the number one shared goal of ‘becoming a Refugees Welcome School’ with the aim being to persuade their number one power-holder, i.e. head teacher and/or chair of governors, to formally agree it.

They then drew up power analysis maps to identify the key power-holders, and discussed ideas for acting on their interests to achieve the campaign goals.

The day ended with role play negotiations with power holders followed by a run-around game involving the key terms in community organising:  power, interest, stick person, relationship, negotiation.

Click here for the programme of the day.  Pictured is Bekele Woyecha of Citizens UK and Sponsor Refugees.

“I thought I would feel like a fish out of water but swam” on Two-Day Training 2018

On Friday-Saturday 28-29th September 2018, 17 leaders from nine member institutions and one external organisation participated in Citizens:mk’s third annual Two-Day Training at MK Quaker Centre.

The Training was facilitated by Citizens:mk’s Community Organiser and six current and former members of Citizens:mk’s Leadership Group.

A short questionnaire after the course, asking about self-perception Before and After, yielded the following results:

  • 129% average increase in ‘My awareness of tools for building relational power (3.5 to 7.6 out of 10)
  • 104% average increase in ‘My confidence in my community leadership’ (3.3 to 6.8 out of 10)
  • 43% increase in ‘My motivation to make positive change in my community’ (5.9 to 8.4 out of 10).

“This training exceeded all my expectations,” said Caroline Higgins of Rethink.  “It has brought structure to my thoughts, new ideas and networking.  I thought I would feel like a fish out of water but swam along happily with everyone.”

“I feel motivated and inspired,” said Gill Bradley of St. Frideswide’s Church.  “I’ve learned a lot about leadership.”

“It was wonderful to have time to think and explore ideas and to meet such a wonderful group of people,” said Jude Watt of Summerfield Primary School.

“It has encouraged me to take actions to improve my local community,” said Jennifer Parsons of MK Muslim Association.  “I am now full of connections and ideas.”

Other (anonymous) evaluation comments from trainees included:

  • “A good mix of theory, planning/reflection and helping others with campaigns.”
  • “Very interesting to learn the basics of interaction between Leaders and Followers.”
  • “Very engaging and inspiring…it’s made me want to get involved.”

Now the trainees will proceed with follow-up activities over six months:

  • 2-4 Mentoring sessions with a member of the Citizens:mk Leadership Group at mutually convenient dates/times/locations, to be arranged.
  • 3 Action Learning Sets ending with final short presentation in last session, 9.30am-12pm on Saturdays 3rd November 2018, 1st December 2018 and 19th January 2019.
  • One half-day Graduation & Learning Exchange, 9.30am-12pm on Saturday 16th March 2019.

Mentoring proves highest impact in Community Leadership Training activities

Latest results from the 2017-18 Community Leadership Training course funded by MK Community Foundation are very positive for the new Mentoring activity,  included for the first time.  Mentoring appears to have the greatest impact of all activities for those who experienced it (see chart above). scoring an impact rating of 75%.

“I met 3 times with one of my mentees,” said Ayser Al Jawad of Middle Eastern Cultural Group,  “It felt very good to discuss the Citizens concepts from the training and clarify certain aspects.”

“I met with my mentor formally once although I had other interaction with him over the year,” said Linda McComie or St. Edward’s Catholic Church.  “As a result of that meeting I set some goals which i subsequently achieved.  I then set some further goals which i am slowly working through.  My awareness of relational building tool within the context of community change is theoretical and mentoring overlaid this with more practical aspects some of which I was able to use.”

“The Mentoring experience was a good one for me,” said Tess Price of Church of Christ the Cornerstone.  “She was a really great mentor! She was encouraging, empathetic and supported me by listening, giving me good advice and being very supportive.”

Mentor Tim Norwood, co-Chair of Citizens:mk who has attended national Six-Day Training, said:  “I started the first session by laying out some ground rules, ie confidentiality, role, and expectations, and I’ve been clear that my role is to listen and ask questions, not to tell them what to do. I have also pointed out that we are teaching community organising, so I will keep bringing the conversation back to the methods and principles of community organising.”

Another mentor, Kurshida Mirza, also co-Chair of Citizens:mk, said:  “I only met my mentees formally once but kept in touch with them virtually as well as chatting to them over the phone and supporting them at events.  I also supported them with creating opportunities for them by opening up dialogue with others to enable them to develop their potential.

“For me I found the experience as a mentor highly rewarding, it was my way of giving back to Citizens: mk for giving me the tools to enable community organising. It was such a delight to see my mentees develop and the best of all was that my own institution gained from being able to recruit such competent individuals. One of the mentees has become a Trustee of my institution and the other a sister organisation … so all in all it has been a win, win!”

Leaders graduate from Citizens:mk Training Programme 2017-18

Five leaders made presentations to complete the final assignment and graduate from the local Community Leadership training programme 2017-18.   They were awarded their certificates by Citizens:mk Co-Chairs Kurshida Mirza and Tim Norwood.

Their learning journey began with the Two-Day Training in October 2017 and involved, for most trainees, a series of follow-up activities including Twilight Training, Action Learning Sets and Mentoring.

The learning outcomes were impressive.  Aggregate data from self-evaluation surveys Before and After each activity showed:

  • 71% increase in ‘awareness of tools for building relational power’
  • 72% increase in ‘confidence in my community leadership’
  • 34% increase in ‘motivation to make positive change in my community’.  (See results in detail.)

The graduating leaders were:  Safee Khan of MK Muslim Association (pictured centre above), Tony Berwick of Jubilee Wood Primary School, Sofia Hassan and Alifa Chowdhury of Trubys Garden Tea Room,  and Paul Griffiths, formerly of YMCA (pictured below).

If you would like to participate in Citizens:mk’s Community Leadership Training Programme in 2018-19, see details and contact Tom Bulman, tel 07962 838685.

The graduation event also provided the opportunity of final assessment for two MK leaders who have attended Citizens UK’s 6-Day National Training in the past.  Mike Kasibo of Global Outreach Foundation and Ayser Al-Jawad of Middle East Cultural Group  each presented their learning from the course and were assessed by Richard Weaver of Citizens UK (pictured below with Ayser).  If successful, they will receive module certification by Newman University.

 

Action Learning Set motivates leadership

In the John Lewis Community Room on Saturday 10th March, three trainees from the Two-Day Training in October enjoyed their second Action Learning Set.

A short questionnaire a few days after the session, asking about self-perception Before and After, showed the following:

  • 33% average increase in ‘My awareness of tools for building relational power (6.0 to 8.0 out of 10)
  • 53% average increase in ‘My confidence in my community leadership’ (5.0 to 7.7 out of 10)
  • 26% increase in ‘My motivation to make positive change in my community’ (6.3 to 8.0 out of 10).

“I have gained so much beneficial knowledge from these sessions and it has definitely boosted me in confidence,” said Safee Khan of MK Muslim Association.  “This leadership programme has motivated me towards becoming a leader and has made me have more of a positive outlook on being part of a community.”

Sofia Hassan of Middle Eastern Cultural Group sad:  “In this session (my second Action Learning Set), I was more able to explain my concerns more than other sessions.  This is purely down to getting more confidence.  My awareness has increased tremendously.”

Jiten completes 6-Day Training

This month Jiten Patel of The Open University (pictured in action) has become the 19th MK leader to attend Citizens UK’s national 6-Day Training course since the Citizens:mk chapter was launched in 2010.

“It’s been a very good experience for me,” said Jiten.  “It has helped me to analyse where power really lies.”

Twilight Training session 29.1.18

Nine leaders from 7 institutions attended the second of three Twilight Training sessions following Two-Day Training 6-7.10.17.

The aim was to cover the following:

  • Building and nurturing a campaign team
  • Finding and supporting powerful testimony
  • Identifying external power-holders
  • Presenting confidently to an Assembly.

The overall impact on trainees, according to their before/after ratings, was:

  • 34% increase in ‘My awareness of tools for building relational power’
  • 48% increase in ‘My confidence in my community leadership’
  • 26% increase in ‘My motivation to make positive change in my community’.

“This was a very good bite sized workshop where we were able to engage with each other and apply principles to real life community issues,” said Jiten Patel of The Open University.

“I’ve enjoyed these training sessions thoroughly,” said Safa Khan of MK Muslim Association.  “They have given me positive insight regarding community matters, I have gained beneficial knowledge which has motivated me to seeking more and doing more for society to create positive change.”

“While I was aware of the tools and techniques and have used them in the past,” said Linda McComie of Truby’s Garden Tea Room, “the training provided both reinforcement of my knowledge but more importantly gave a completely different perspective in how they can be used effectively.”

“This training has the benefit of building our relationships and networks with like-minded individuals,” said Linda Kirk from St. Frideswide’s Church.

“I really do feel the twilight training sessions are very beneficial in order to meet other like minded individuals who are on the same path, alongside trying to further our own campaigns,” said Jean-Louis Button of Transition MK.

“I found it a great opportunity for learning and enhancing my skills,” said Shamsa Qureshi of MK Muslim Assoication.  “I think its a very good initiative by you for MK community for developing insight towards the issues and learning practical approaches to resolve them altogether.”

At the end, participants were asked to share issues they face and actions they plan to take in preparation for presentation to Delegates Assembly on 5.2.18 and beyond.

The third and final Twilight Training session will take place on Monday 16th April 2018 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.  Click here for details.

First action learning set for Two-Day Trainees

Five leaders from four member institutions attended the first of three Action Learning Sets  following Two-Day Training 6-7.10.17.

Each of the five participants took turns to present an issue blocking their leadership and take open questions from the group, then decided on one or two actions to take before next meeting.

The overall impact on trainees, according to their before/after ratings, was:

  • 78% increase in ‘My awareness of tools for building relational power’
  • 100% increase in ‘My confidence in my community leadership’
  • 67% increase in ‘My motivation to make positive change in my community’.

“I found the session very helpful and interesting,” said participant Sofia Hassan.  “It has helped me to have the confidence to talk about concerns that I have in the community and be able to approach some of the power holders.  I’m looking forward to the next session too.”

My experience of mentoring – Tim Norwood, 30.11.17

I’ve done one so far and have modeled it in sessions I’ve done with similar courses.

I’ve started the first session by laying out some ground rules, ie confidentiality, role, and expectations. I’ve been clear that my role is to listen and ask questions, not to tell them what to do. I have also pointed out that we are teaching community organising, so I will keep bringing the conversation back to the methods and principles of community organising.

I then asked questions about their context, focusing on their personal goals and self-interest/vocation. I’ve taken notes and probed on issues which seemed relevant.

When necessary I’ve made tried to frame questions in terms of 121s, self-interest, power analysis, etc… and made suggestions about how they might use these tools.

I’ve made notes as we went, high-lighting key issues and actions that they might take.

Towards the end of the season I began to focus on “next steps”. We finished the first season with three clear actions that they were going to commit to do before we meet again. We then agreed a date to meet.

20 leaders complete Two-Day Training, 6-7th October

20 leaders from 12 institutions (10 member institutions) completed Two-Day Training on 6-7th October 2017.

In post-event evaluation, the trainees gave an average score of 9.5 out of 10 for the Two-Day Training course as a whole, higher than last year’s score.

A short questionnaire a few days after the course, asking about self-perception Before and After, yielded the following results:

  • 91% average increase in ‘My awareness of tools for building relational power (4.3 to 8.3 out of 10)
  • 75% average increase in ‘My confidence in my community leadership’ (4.5 to 7.8 out of 10)
  • 41% increase in ‘My motivation to make positive change in my community’ (6.2 to 8.7 out of 10).

“I feel positive and inspired,” said Caro Marshall of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church.

“There were lots of people from different backgrounds,” said Brett Farrier-Smith of MK YMCA.  “I felt empowered.”

“What a great group of people,” said Tony Berwick, Head teacher of Jubilee Wood Primary School.  “I loved talking to them.”

“I look forward to starting some positive work for Q:alliance and feel the framework you have shared is a good tool,” said Helen Pritchard of Q:alliance LGBT+ group.

“When I started this course, I didn’t feel like I was a leader,” said Linda Mccomie of St. Edward’s Catholic Church.  “Now I feel i am!”

” I have realised the importance of the leadership course and I would like to join the following ones if it is possible,” said Rooda Abdillahi, of MK Somali Community and Global Outreach Foundation.

“I went on a break from humanity for a while,” said Will Cofie, a Greenleys resident.  “This training gave me hope again.”

“It was good & practical  learning experience,” said Ahmed Saadat, a Fishermead resident.  “In fact I learn new things which I can apply in my personal and public life.”

The trainees then emarked on a series of follow-up activities:

  • Three Twilight Training sessions (Research, Action, Evaluation), 5.30-7.30pm on Mondays 20thNovember, 29th January and 16th April, at Acorn House, 381 Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 3HP.
  • Three Action Learning Sets ending with final short presentation in last session, 9.30am-12pm on Saturdays 9th December, 10thMarch and 16th June, at Church of Christ the Cornerstone, 300 Saxon Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 2ES.
  • Three one-to-one Mentoring sessions with individual members of Citizens:mk Leadership Group who have attended Citizens UK’s 6-Day Training.

Attendees of Two-Day Training 6-7th October 2017:

First Name Surname Institution
Ahmed Saadat Fishermead  resident
Alifa Chowdhury Southwood Primary School
Beatrice Tz Global Outreach Foundation
Brett john Farrier-Smith MK YMCA
Caro Marshall St. Augustine’s Catholic Church
Christine Davies MK All Womens Welfare Association
Donna Taylor Smith Jubilee Wood Primary School
Helen Pritchard Q:alliance
Jimmy El-Zamek Conniburrow Big Local
Linda McComie Trubys Garden Tea Room
Maria Zimbabwe Global Outreach Foundation
Nicola Elgar Summerfield Primary School
Paul Griffiths MK YMCA
Philippa Marshall St. Augustine’s Catholic Church
Roda Abdillahi Ibrahim Global Outreach Foundation
Safa Aamir MK Muslim Association
Shammi Akter MK All Womens Welfare Association
Sofia Hassan Middle Eastern Cultural Group
Tess Price Church of Christ the Cornerstone
Tony Berwick Jubilee Wood Primary School
Wamedh Abdulkereem Middle Eastern Cultural Group
Will Coffie Greenleys resident
Leadership Group members who have attended national Six-Day Training and co-delivered sessions on this Two-Day Training
Tim Norwood
Fidele Mutwarisibo
Kurshida Mirza
Debbie Wilson
Ayser Al Jawad