Project Support Pack Introduction This pack was written to help Woodcraft groups create and run their own projects, from the starting point of creating an idea based on your community through all the steps to engaging others in your project at the end. There is a selection of advice, activities, useful resources and links. Content:
1. Identifying community needs
2. Finding community partners
3. Project planning
4. Consulting others
5. Project funding
6. Engaging others
Woodcraft Folk is a registered charity in England & Wales (1148195) and in Scotland (SC039791). And a Limited Company, registered in England & Wales, Company No. 8133727.
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Identifying community need What are the most important issues facing your community? Below are some other ways you could find out what issues are important to the wider community where you live. •
Street interviews – Ask people on the high street or at a local supermarket what they think the most important things are that need to be changed in the community. This could be with surveys, on camera or on a voice recorder. o Videos can be a fun and visual way to share peoples’ thoughts with the rest of the group and community.
Check local newspapers for recurring stories about an issue. This may also include local groups who are active on the issue, so also useful for finding community partners. o You could make collages to show various topics / community needs more visually, which might be useful to refer back to later in the project. Taking your own photos to add to this could be another good way to explore the issue.
Holding a community event advertised widely in your area would mean you could get lots of local people in the same place at the same time and do some group activities that identify community need. o If you don’t want to organise your own event, see if there are any local events already being organised that you could ask to have a stall at.
Here are some activity ideas if you have a group of people together. •
Use drama to explore community need. In small groups (3-4 people) discuss, identify and agree on an issue of need in the community. Develop a freeze frame image depicting this issue. This is a great activity to get people doing something a bit more active and works well for presenting ideas non-verbally. It can be especially useful if there are language barriers. o This freeze frame can be developed into a mini-skit later in project planning to explore different ways to approach / change the situation. Check this website out for more drama activities http://www.dramaresource.com/strategies •
Mapping the Neighbourhood – Map your area onto a big paper. Come up with a list of different people who live in the community (e.g. older resident, teenager, child, parent, local shop owner, etc). Everyone gets a ‘person card’ and draws or writes their needs onto the area drawing. Everyone should have a different colour pen; this will make it easier to see if different groups have similar needs. Follow up with discussion. o This can be done in smaller groups of 3 – 5 so everyone has a ‘person card’.
A simple way to see what community needs are and how similar different needs are is to have people write up issues that they feel are a problem in their community onto flipchart and if someone agrees with an issue written up, they should put a tally or a tick next to it. If they think of something that isn’t there already, write it up. This is good for events where people are passing through throughout the day.
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Useful Links The Woodcraft resource Issues for Venturers has a whole section looking at community http://woodcraft.org.uk/resources/issuesforventurers Act by Rightâ€™s section on understanding community http://www.actbyright.org.uk/unit_2/2.1 Act by Rightâ€™s section on mapping communities http://www.actbyright.org.uk/unit_2/2.2
Look at the consulting others section for ideas how to reach out to your local community.
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Finding community partners What groups in your community have an interest in the issue you want to work on and is anyone already working on it?
West Coventry WcF group identified local contacts using ‘mind maps’ (see below) and personal contacts (through parents) and invited them to decide what/how they shared with them, leading to further ideas for their project.
• o o o
Mapping Who lives in the community? What other community groups have an interest or might have an interest in the issue? Are there any local activists, groups or organisations already working on this issue in the community?
Maps can be done in different ways from a ‘spider diagram’ to using photos, news clippings and other imagery that could be glued to flip chart or an actual map of the local area.
However you choose to do it, it involves doing research! Here are some places you can start researching:
An archery-type target can be used to visualise how close to your group potential community partners are: Draw a large circle on a sheet of flip chart and 3 or 4 smaller circles within it. The centre is your group. Groups that have similar ideas as you do might be in the closest circle while groups that might be working on the same issue but saying different things or having different goals might be a bit further out and those who might be interested in the issue but even more removed from the ‘work on the ground’, like an MP, might be even further out.
Check out your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), sometimes also called Voluntary Action groups. Most areas have a voluntary and community sector support agency that will list active community groups. Check out the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (http://www.navca.org.uk/directory) to see if your CVS is a member.
Look in local newspapers or for leaflets in your local library about community groups who might have similar interests and values.
If you want to link up with other young people, some areas may have a youth website or online forum that lists different youth groups in the area. Use search terms like
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“[YOUR TOWN] youth”; “[YOUR TOWN] youth zone”; “[YOUR TOWN] youth groups”. •
Residents’ and tenants’ associations are groups that are often already active in the neighbourhood so they could be a good place to start.
Ask the members and parents of your group what personal contacts they have in the local community? Are they a part of any local community groups that you could link up with? Do they work for one?
Useful Links The Woodcraft resource Issues for Venturers has a whole section looking at community http://woodcraft.org.uk/resources/issuesforventurers Act by Right’s section on identifying community links and support http://www.actbyright.org.uk/unit_2/2.3 Look at the consulting others section for ideas who to reach out to your local community.
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If you’ve come up with many ideas or are faced with various community needs, how do you choose just one issue to work on? What are some ways to generate project ideas? And finally, how do you put those ideas into action?
Choosing an issue •
Issues Carousel – explore problems in more depth, looking at causes and effects
The two activities could be used either to choose what issue to work on or what project idea to choose within an issue. •
Issue ranking – Rank issues on various criteria, for example, how much it affects you, how much it affects other people, how unfair it is, how urgent it is to act now, how much fun it is to take action on, how likely it is to have success. 1 = not a lot, 5 = a lot. Score the issues and discuss the top one or ones that are very close. This can be done by each group member and an average of all the scores taken, or done as a whole group.
Diamond ranking – Write nine issues or project ideas on cards. First priority card at the top, followed by two in second place, three in third place, a further two and then the card which represents the lowest priority at the bottom, to form a diamond shape. The top 2 or 3 priorities can be explored further until consensus is reached. This is from Active Learning and Teaching Methods for Key Stage 3.
Sticky dots – Each person gets 3 sticky dots to vote on their top 3 priorities/issues. They can use all dots on one issue, or spread them out. Sometimes different colour sticky dots are used for young people and adults to see the difference in their priorities.
Generating project ideas & putting them into action
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To come up with project ideas it might help to have more information about the issue. The problem tree is one way to analyse the root causes of issues and identify consequences. This should be done on a big flip chart where the tree roots are the root causes of the problem, the trunk is the problem and the branches are the consequences of the problem. More detailed guidance on this tool can be downloaded from http://www.thechangeagency.org/
From vision to action – There are 3 stages, which can be fitted into a few hours or a whole workshop: 1. The long-term vision. Groups of six imagine their community in the year 2030 and come up with headlines for the local paper, radio or television station. Each group displays its headlines to the others. 2. How did we get there? Each group takes three or four of its headlines and tries to imagine what happened by the midpoint of 2014 (or whatever the following year is). If time allows they repeat for the year after. 3. Getting started. Each group is then asked, ‘If that is what is happening in 2014, 2015, etc., what has to happen within the next months to get things started? Who is going to do what?’ Personal and group action plans are developed. This is taken from the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Participation Works!’, which may have other activities you’d find useful as well.
http://www.junction49.co.uk is an online community for youth-led projects. Upload your idea, get advice, planning tips, funding ideas and more! Support is available form a helpdesk team and from other young people.
West Coventry WcF planned their project on refugee and asylum seekers by making lots of mind maps using big sheets of paper and coloured pens, with lots and lots of ideas written on which we then prioritised. They then identified young people /adults we knew (in WcF) with skills they could share (video editing, simulation game planning, risk assessment etc).
If you need campaign tips, there’s loads of information on www.campaigncentral.org.uk
If you need a space to hold an event or do your project, search on http://www.somewhereto.com. Maybe there’s something in your area!
Useful Links The A to Z of discussion will help you to facilitate good planning discussions http://woodcraft.org.uk/resources/issuesforventurers Choose it, Plan it, Do it, contains a guide on how to plan a project: http://woodcraft.org.uk/resources/choose-it-plan-it-do-it Act by Right’s section on developing an action plan for change http://www.actbyright.org.uk/unit_3/3.2 A clear plan will help with finding funding, find out more information in the project funding section.
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How do you get other peoples idea? Will the community like it?
Questionnaires – online or in person. Some free survey websites are www.kwiksurveys.com and www.surveymonkey.com (with Survey Monkey only 10 questions are free).
West Coventry WcF group arranged interviews with people they thought might know something about their topic. These people were identified through the mind maps they’d done.
Video blogs –Encourage people to share concerns or what they want to know about a certain topic. You could be out on the highstreet with the camera, or if you’re holding an event, you could have a film camera set up in part of the room, or a website for people to upload their own videos on.
Community message boards or online forums are another place you could consult people through.
Using twitter and facebook will gather people’s thoughts on a topic very quickly.
Focus groups can be a good research method to consult people in groups.
Spectrum Lines, sometimes also called ‘value continuum’ are a great way to reflect on various issues, show and express your opinion. Ask people to place themselves on an imaginary line in response to questions a facilitator asks. Affirmative and negative answers are at opposite ends of the room (e.g. Agree/Disagree, Yes/No, etc). For example, how relevant do you think our project idea is for this area? ‘Very relevant’ would be at one end of the room, ‘not relevant’ at the other.
What about having a project exhibition while the project is still ongoing? Sometimes seeing what people think about the direction of the project mid-way through can be helpful.
‘Marbles in Jars’ is another way to find out how people think the project is going, especially in seeing how people think the project is meeting its aims. Think up some questions and have each question written up on the wall with 3 jars placed in front. One jar is ‘doing well’, one is ‘not doing well’ and one is ‘don’t know’. Everyone gets one marble per question to put in a jar. Sometimes different colour marbles are useful to see what’s working well and what isn’t for different groups (e.g. young people and adults). Having blank flipchart and pens near each question could be useful if people wanted to elaborate on a question. This could also be used to evaluate the impact of your project.
Set up a “Graffiti Wall” where the plans and information on the project are displayed and people are asked to either write their comments on the plans directly or on post it notes to stick on the plans. Make it clear when the plans will be taken down and the comments looked at. This wall could be put up in a community space so all the community have the chance to make a comment. Make sure you let the community know what you have done with their comments.
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Useful Links The A to Z of discussion will help you to run good consultation discussions http://woodcraft.org.uk/resources/issuesforventurers Act by Rightâ€™s section on building alliances http://www.actbyright.org.uk/unit_3/3.3 To work out whom to consult with visit the finding community partners section.
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Project funding How will you fund the project or get top up funding? Where do you start looking? What kind of options are there?
Environmental NGO, Friends of the Earth, wrote a useful guide to fundraising for grassroots for groups, with fundraising ideas and pointers to various websites: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/how_tos/cyw_47_raise_funds.pdf Here are some grants your group might be able to apply for:
www.awardsforall.org.uk are part of the Big Lottery Fund
Use the Big Lottery Fund’s fund finder to find other grants you could apply for. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/funding/funding-finder
www.liveunltd.com offers young people between 11 – 25 up to £5000 of funding and all the support you need to help make great ideas happen.
http://www.cypnow.co.uk/fundingfinder-england is another useful tool for finding local funding in your area.
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How about crowd funding? Crowd funding is raising money from people donating online through a website set up specifically for this kind of thing. People often make videos about their projects as a starting point. Some popular crowd funding websites are Crowd Funder, Kickstarter and Go Fund Me.
(Beware! Although it’s free to sign up, the websites will automatically take a small percentage of donations as commission so make sure to check the FAQ sections for this info). Useful links There is a page about on funding on the Woodcraft site http://woodcraft.org.uk/funding This page suggests possible sources of funding: http://woodcraft.org.uk/resources/sources-funding The TREE programme rewards £500 for Action Projects, find out more here: http://woodcraft.org.uk/action-projects
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Engaging others Deciding who to engage and then how to engage them. •
If you did any mapping at any other stage of your project, for example, to explore community need, refer back to it – it might be worth specifically trying to get in touch with some of the groups identified.
Make an exciting video to promote your project and get people interested. You can upload it on YouTube, send it to local groups and post it on their Facebook pages. o This could be a good way to link up with a local arts organisation, especially if your group doesn’t have filmmaking skills).
Writing an article for the local newspaper or a response letter to something that has already appeared in the local newspaper is another way you could get your action project out there – and engage interested community members.
Make a poster to put up in the local library, community and youth centres and anywhere else that’ll let you!
Organise an outreach event where people could come and find out about the project and ways to get involved. This could partly be a consultation event as well – getting their opinions on the project and any new ideas they might have.
Make sure your group and events are accessible to everyone. People learn in different ways and have different levels of understanding. Here are some tips from the Disability Rights Commission on working with people with learning difficulties, http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/how_to_use_easy_words_and_pictures.pdf
Let your local council know what you’re up to, they will have a directory on possible people to engage and may even want to get engaged themselves.
Ideas and words of wisdom from West Coventry WcF group: Engage everyone in the group by making sessions fun (by providing chocolate and playing a card game at the beginning of every session). This was a real inducement! West Coventry played a game, brought by community partners, that was a great starting point for their research on the subject and also worked really well to get others involved later on. The game was based around rolling dice in the context of being a refugee. They say it could probably easily be adapted to fit other projects so if you’d like more details, get in touch with…
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Useful Links The A to Z of discussion will help you to engage other in good discussions http://woodcraft.org.uk/resources/issuesforventurers Act by Rightâ€™s section on campaigning for change http://www.actbyright.org.uk/unit_4 Re-visit the finding community partners and identifying community need sections to look at who you might wish to engage.
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