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How to use the planning cycle and an example of it in practice KEY: The examples are in italic text

Identifying community opportunities and needs that can be supported or addressed by your joint activity. These may be identified from research or linked to partners’ previous and existing work.

➜➜ Product/learning offer: What you will offer and how you will offer it, including timings, length of sessions, fees you may charge and type of session e.g. online, one-toone support, or group session.

Older people in the community need to be supported to get online. They have limited access to computers and some lack confidence in taking the first step.

Arrive at 2pm after lunch and deliver a short taster course.

➜➜ Milestones that signify important dates for completing a task

➜➜ Progression: How the activity is taken forward afterwards. Offer a follow up course in IT.

Action plan agreed; IT bus and centre booked; promotional materials created and distributed; day of session and evaluation completed.

➜➜ Promotion: How you will communicate and engage your audience.

➜➜ The resources or skills that you need and who will be supplying them

Through posters at the community hall and one-to-one communication through the community learning champion.

IT bus, refreshments, tutor, poster material, online beginner courses, money for petrol, printing posters and photocopying.

➜➜ Price: The cost of delivering the activity including all the resources that you need to pay for and what you can get for free.

➜➜ Other people or organisations that need to be involved

The cost of petrol for the bus, refreshments and printing the posters.

➜➜ How you will communicate between partners and keep in touch


Creating shared goals and objectives (targets). Goals should be SMART (see section 5.1).


To help twenty older people at the community centre take their first step in getting online by September. Developing a strategy to reach your objectives. This is the main action you will take.

with centre, creating and putting up posters, talking to older people at centre, organising refreshments and supporting learners on the day, including evaluation.


We will support older people to get online by taking IT to them using the mobile IT bus. Deciding on the tactics you will use to make sure your strategy is a success. These are all the elements that will ensure that your joint activity is suitable and accessible for your audience, that it supports participation and that you have the people and resources to deliver it. ■■

➜➜ Place: Where your activity happens. It must be accessibility to your audience and suitable for the type of learning on offer. The community centre and the mobile IT bus – needs to be accessible. ➜➜ People: The audience for the activity and the people who will develop and deliver it. Older people at the community centre are the audience. The ULRs and community champions will deliver the project. The ULR and union colleagues will drive the bus and support older people to get online on the day. The community learning champion will liaise with the community centre, encourage older people to take part and support the activity on the day.

Creating an action plan. These are the details of how you will deliver your activity and should include: ■■

➜➜ The timescale of your activity – when you will start and finish the activity Two months from start to end. ➜➜ The tasks that you need to do to deliver the activity Liaising with the community centre and agreeing a date, booking the IT mobile bus, producing posters, putting posters up, talking to older people at the community centre, checking health and safety requirements, producing evaluation sheets, driving bus to centre, delivering sessions. ➜➜ Who will be responsible for each task ULRs and union colleagues responsible for booking bus, health and safety, driving bus to centre, delivering sessions and creating evaluation sheets. CLC responsible for liaising

Community centre

Ongoing telephone and/or email communication plus meeting every two weeks. How you will evaluate and measure the success of your activities. This includes deciding on the data you will collect and how you will collect it. ■■

The number of older people who take part using sign-up sheets. The feedback from the people on their experience of the session, using interviews after they have participated. Feedback from people who didn’t take part using interviews. Feedback from partners on how the joint activity was delivered – what worked well and any issues that arose.

Reaching communities - resources



Planning cycle ACTION





Reaching communities - resources

Ideas matrix tool This matrix will help you identify common ground that can be used as a platform to build joint goals. It is based on the Ansoff matrix for market and product development.

How to use it Each partner should look at the four central shaded boxes and write down all the ideas they can think in response to each. The boxes are numbered from 1 to 4. It is best to start with box 1 as this will generate ideas that are close to your current activities, whilst box 4 will represent ideas that require more development work. You don’t have to act on the ideas but it is good to think big and then narrow them down.

1. Expanding your existing offer Partners should explore the current learning opportunities they offer or to which they have links and see if those offers could be promoted to reach more of their current target audience Eg. Expand the promotion of a Skills for Life course to all retail employees in the community. 2. Reaching new audiences for your existing approaches or offers Partners should explore the current learning opportunities they offer or have links to and see if that offer could be promoted to reach a new group of people. Eg. Reach unemployed people in the community with an offer of Skills for Life courses. 3. Introducing new approaches or offers for your current target audience Partners should explore any new learning opportunities they could offer and see if those offers could be promoted to their current target audience Eg. Introducing a reading club to current retail employees. 4. Developing new approaches and new audiences Partners should explore any new learning opportunities they could offer to reach new audiences Eg. Introducing a reading club for unemployed people in the community.

Reaching communities - resources

Ideas matrix IDEAS


1. EXTEND EXISTING OFFER Current services to more of the same people


2. R  EACH NEW AUDIENCES Current services to a different group of people

3. INTRODUCING NEW APPROACHES OR OFFERS New services to the same people



New services to a different group of people

Reaching communities - resources

The communications planning grid and how to use it Audience

Key messages

Who are the people you will be targeting? For example:

What do you want to say to this group of people? For example:

➜➜ Mums ➜➜ Refugees from Afghanistan ➜➜ White males aged 35–45

➜➜ Help your children with their homework by our number knowhow

Think about whether you can define your audiences even further, for example:

Communication tools

➜➜ Mums

How will you let your audience know? For example:

– Young mums – Working mums – Single mums

➜➜ Flyers and posters at schools

Learning activities What will you offer and who will run it? For example:

➜➜ Community Learning Champions speaking to mums at the school gates ➜➜ An email sent round to people in the workplace inviting mums to come along Remember to let people know how then can join in or sign up.

➜➜ Bake biscuits to learn all about weighing and measuring at Hollyled Primary School ➜➜ Make a board game to learn the times tables at Ickle Library ➜➜ Plan a party to learn about budgeting at Upton Union Learning Centre

Reaching communities - resources

The communications planning grid Audience

Learning activities

Key messages

Communication tools

Reaching communities - resources

Example of Mind Map for ‘Our Community’

Skills for Life

IT Courses



Trade Union Learning Centre

Children Centre

Faith groups

Voluntary and community organisations

Museum and gallery

Learning opportunities

Self-organised clubs and groups

Community organisations

Primary school

Institute of Adult Education

WEA branch


Art and crafts

Adult and community learning service Main employers

Places people go and work

Retail areas

Sports venues

Shopping centre

Football club


Careers services

Children centre

Health services

Reaching communities - resources

Evaluation checklist What is your SMART goal?

How will you measure its success?

What were the outcomes?

Were the aims and objectives achieved?

Were there any unexpected outcomes?

Reaching communities - resources

Reaching Communities - Inserts  

[This is part of our community learning toolkit, order it free here:

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