Almost everyone agrees that strengthening the capacity of communities will be vital in facing the troubles ahead, but what does this mean, and how can we do it? Future Conversations is a series 0f 6-8 facilitated groups for 12-20 participants, ideally all from the same community. The content of the sessions is flexible, aiming to meet the needs of the individuals involved and of their community as a whole. Typically the content includes some resilience and adaptation training, community and organisaing skills, and ways to understand and respond to the climate crisis. If possible, we use an outdoor setting for some sessions, and ways to learn about resilience and community from natural eco-systems. In 2019 we successfully ran complete pilot programmes with three disadvantaged communities in London, the Midlands and Scotland, and we are developing further formats.
- Original format: Once lockdown is lifted, we can facilitate a series of 6-8 sessions face to face for a specific community.
- Online taster: We have a 1.5 hour online workshop to give a flavour of the full programme, and enable people to decide if they wish to commit to that
- Six part online series: This series of six 1.5 hour online workshops covers the main elements of the full programme but in less depth: it will enable participants to decide whether they would like to commit to the facilitator training, or if they would like a facilitated programme for their community group.
- Facilitator training programme: We are planning a second facilitator training programme probably in Autumn 2020, we will decide in August whether this will be in person or online.
FORMAT AND CONTENT
Each programme is a series of 6-8 conversations, each about 2-3 hours long, for a group of 8-14 participants, with two facilitators. The interval between sessions is between weekly and monthly. The aim is to recruit people with an actual or potential connection, e.g. living in the same neighbourhood, members of one organisation such as a community group, etc. The venue is ideally a community garden, or local community centre with green space close by.
The first session is a ‘taster’, preferably for 12-20 people, at which people are invited to commit to the full series of sessions. All details of the sessions are open to negotiation with local partner organisations. Sample session content for the series includes:
|1.||Taster: exploratory session sharing how you feel, what you think about the future, or how you avoid it. Various ways to consider the future are explored. What Future Conversations offers, including the potential topics, mention of the impacts of climate emergency. Consensus about the shape of the programme. Aim to agree practicalities like length of sessions, and the target content of the sessions.|
|2.||How About You: your present and future concerns about your own life and work, e.g. health, finance, housing, food supplies. Some basic resilience and positive psychology skills. Handling difficult feelings, finding resources and support.|
|3.||Natural Happiness: learning about human nature, and how to grow your own happiness, by learning from nature and gardening. For example how to ‘compost’ your concerns and stress, how to nourish your roots and support network, including community connections.|
|4.||The Big Picture: using a deep ecology process to face fears about the future, find new perspectives, and a new sense of fellowship and purpose. Finding a sense of hope and what you can believe in, both individually and in your community.|
|5.||At Home with the Planet: exploring fears, facts and practicalities around environmental sustainability and the climate emergency. Exploring different views and ways to respond to it, including Deep Adaptation and Extinction Rebellion.|
|6.||Community Matters 1: What does community mean to you: what do you need, what can you offer to your communities (e.g. your neighborhood, family, faith, work groups?) Skills and resources to help community groups to function better.|
|7.||Community Matters 2:Exploring current and future issues around the front-line services that you and your community need, such as the NHS, local authority services, education, etc. Considering how to take an empowered approach, including community action.|
|8.||Completion and beyond: wrap-up session. Celebrating the shared journey. Exploring follow-on hopes and plans, and how to find support and information to move forward from here.|
We are interested in working with additional partners for the next stages of the project.
Single Conversations series partners: these could be local projects, or national organisations.
Roll-out partners: we are seeking a few regional or natural partners who could use this process through their network. We would hold a facilitator training for you and then support the newly trained facilitators to prepare for and deliver the sessions.
We will be running a 3 day training for facilitators later in 2020 and are taking notes of interest now. Please email email@example.com for more information or to note interest.
The research and development to date, has been funded by Seeding our Future. SOF has limited funds for further programmes, and we are seeking to work with local partners, who can self-fund this work or partner in fundraising.
Pam Candea: firstname.lastname@example.org 07970 327975