England & Wales Economy and regeneration

Engaging your communities through education



Local authorities and communities are increasingly interested in engagement and methods of achieving this. They are also concerned with resource optimisation – achieving more for less.

Developing initiatives in community education and webs of learning is one positive way of engaging communities and doing so in a very cost effective way. This seminar looks at how this can be done with some example of engagement and learning in practice

It will also look at how successful collaboration with communities, colleges and universities as well as NGOs can help in this process.

This seminar will look at some of the new ideas developing around community education and the pivotal role that local authorities can play in partnership with others.

What we would like to do in this seminar is explore some of these ideas and ask you to discuss how you think community education could develop in your locality to further engagement with your communities.

What is the nature of that education would be and what partners you would involve and how can it optimise resources.

We would also look at cost effective ways of developing education and how the new media could help develop this in a comprehensive way.
Participants of this workshop will gain:

  • An understanding of community education and its depth within communities
  • Some of the new ideas around community education through several case studies
  • The importance of partnerships and collaboration in developing community education
  • The pivotal role the local authority can play in enabling a learning environment
  • Some ideas on how social networking and the new media can be used to develop community education
  • Timely feedback and next steps


The programme*

The morning session will explore the idea of engagement and the role of community education in this. We will explore some radical approaches to community education and look at the experience of developing community engagement through education over time in one authority. We will also make time for those attending to develop some of their ideas and experiences and feed it back to others.

09:30 Coffee and Registration
10:00 Introduction to day and overview (Francis Sealey, GlobalNet21)
10:20 Community engagement and the learning community (David Boyle)
10:40 Education, community and local authority (Francis Sealey & Anna Loughlin, Enfield)
11:10 Questions and discussion
11:25 Break out into working groups
11:55 Feedback from groups
12:05 Lunch

The afternoon session will explore three case studies and discuss the growing pop up university movement as well as other initiatives. We will also briefly look at the role of social networking and the new media.

Finally we will look at one local authority that has developed a strategic approach to asset mapping their communities with the aim to develop the strength of those communities and to build from the bottom up. This approach lays the framework for developing community education and development.

12:40 Overview of afternoon (Francis Sealey)
12:50 The pop-up university (Garmon Ap Garth Birkbeck University)
13:10 Case study 1 – London Borough of Enfield

13.30 Case study 2 – The Community University Bradford (Skype Session)
13:50 Case study 3 – Paxton Green Time Bank
14:10 Tea break
14:20 The local authority and building from the bottom up (Croydon Council – Sharon Godman)
14:50 Questions to speakers
15:10 Working groups
15:40 Feedback
15:55 Feedback on day
16:00 Close

* This programme was correct at the time of publication but may be altered to reflect speaker changes that are beyond our control.

Francis Sealey, GlobalNet21, a former producer at the BBC for The Open University, Francis has extensive experience of engaging with local communities and the use of social media. He has worked for the BBC Open University both as a Producer & Executive Producer and has also developed community engagement in local communities through webs of education. David Courtney Boyle, born 1958, is a British author and journalist who writes mainly about history and new ideas in “economics”, money, business and culture. His book Funny Money helped launched the time banks movement in the UK. He has worked with the New Economics Foundation and NESTA on a series of publications about coproduction. David has been involved with developing coproduction and introducing time banks to Britain as part of public service reform. He has been involved in the Clone Town Britain campaign and writes about the future of volunteering, cities and business. David helped found the London Time Bank, and was co-founder of Time Banking UK. Anna Louglin is the Interim Head of Business and Economic Development Service, Regeneration and Environment Department in the London Borough of Enfield. Anna Led on the innovative pop-up Learning Shop EnfieldThinks with Birkbeck University and local FE Colleges providing free taster classes, discussion groups and advice sessions for residents. Anna has also worked on skills development and several European projects. Previously Anna worked for the British Council managing evaluations of UK training undertaken by professionals from developing countries. Garmon Ap Garth, is Birkbeck’s Acting Head of Widening Access and Retention. Garmon works to recruit students from diverse backgrounds and to building partnerships particularly with FE and 6th Form Colleges. He with others in his unit has also worked in partnership with local authorities to develop outreach and informal education networks. Paxton Green Time Bank. We will also have speakers from the Paxton Green Time Bank that will look at how arts have been developed with local communities using co-production and time banks. A time bank is a new and exciting way for people to come together to help others and help themselves at the same time. Participants ‘deposit’ their time in the bank by giving practical help and support to others and are able to ‘withdraw’ their time when they need something done themselves. Time banks measure and value all the different kinds of help and skills we can offer each other. In a time bank, everyone becomes both a giver and a receiver. Sharon Godman is Head of Strategy and Community at Croydon Council and has worked with the Asset Based Community Development approach to building communities from the bottom up. By finding the strengths and skills of communities, ABCD provides a framework for community education and development. Community University, Bradford. Lisa Cummings from Bradford University or one of her team who developed the idea of a community university in Bradford will provide and interactive skype contribution to the seminar about the Community University and its reach into local communities.
Who should attend?
This seminar will be relevant to those working in education and community engagement within local government, further and higher education and the voluntary sector.