Archive for 2006

Active Citizenship

changes consultants have been involved in developing the Take Part Learning Framework for active learning for active citizenship.

It is available to view and/or download – just click here: Take Part framework

The Framework has been designed to:

  • bring together current thinking and practice around citizenship learning and adults
  • emphasise the link between active learning and active citizenship
  • situate ‘citizenship’ within broad political and theoretical contexts
  • provide a resource – to use – and add to

It is for learning providers, educationalists, trainers and facilitators, policy makers, funders, community workers and planners who want to:

  • support education which strengthens democracy, governance and society
  • provide learning opportunities which reach out to people
  • take a learner-centred approach
  • encourage people to make a difference for themselves and others
  • engage more effectively with a wider range of people

The framework was developed by Jill Bedford (changes), Helen Marsh (London Civic Forum) and Dave Wright (Exeter CVS), following a two year pilot, Active Learning for Active Citizenship, funded by the Home Office. IMPACT! Women Active in Community and Public Life – mentioned elsewhere on this website – was the Black Country hub.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006 Active citizenship

INSIDE/OUTSIDE women's art exhibition

An unusual show of mixed media art works reflecting the emotional, intellectual and social journeys of nine emerging artists from the Black Country and Birmingham who came together as IMPACT! ‘Women Active in Community and Public Life’ as part of the Active Learning for Active Citizenship learning programme.

This exhibition was at Bantock House, Wolverhampton in September but if you missed it don’t worry – it was hugely successful and details of the tour will be here as soon as they are known.

Artists: Pauline Callaghan, Nusrat Javaid, Nazia Kausar, Rose Busby, Shahida Chaudhry, Rani Gundhu, Sue Ralph, Rakhyia Begum, Di Drew

Coordinating artist: Sue Challis:

A flagship Arts Council funded project

Download a copy of the Impact Evaluation report

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006 Equalities & Diversity

Women Take Part

Click here to visit our webpage hosting the Closing the gap and other women take part reports.

There is a power gap in our institutions and workplaces. Women are much less likely than men to reach the top of their professions. Only 10% of directorships of FTSE 100 companies are held by women. In today’s workplace requesting flexible working can still spell career death for many women. Instead they often have to ‘trade down’ when they take on caring roles and then lose out on the top jobs.

When it comes to political representation the situation is no better. Currently less than 20% of MPs are female, and at the current rate of change it will take up to 200 years to achieve an equal number of men and women in the Westminster Parliament.

For certain groups of women, for example ethnic minority women, their representation is even lower.The power gap needs to be closed, with true representation for all groups of women, including ethnic minority women, disabled women, lesbians, and women of all ages and faiths. Shared power would be an important sign of gender equality – it will show us that we have managed to complete the social revolution

In 2007- 2008 changes undertook research for the Government Equalities Office to produce guidance on models, approaches and resources which can be used to encourage, equip and support women who are currently under represented, to become more active, both formally and informally, in governance structures and other aspects of both civic and civil life.

This work followed on from the work that we had been involved in as part of Take Part.

Where Take Part started… In 2004 the Civil Renewal Unit (now part of the Department of Communities and Local Government) set up the Active Learning for Active Citizenship (ALAC) programme, bringing together seven regional ‘hubs’ all based on existing community learning programmes.

The hubs took very different routes to ‘citizenship learning’, yet shared similar values and principles: social justice, participation, equality, diversity and cooperation. The programmes were all about creating opportunities for people to use their knowledge and capacity to shape their lives and their communities. It is widely acknowledged that many people feel disengaged and unable to exert influence on the wider world they live in; they support democracy as a principle but do not see or feel it in action in their everyday lives.

The regional hub organisations who took part in the pilot have formed the National Take Part Network and created the Take Part Learning Framework to share their good practice and guidance for other learning providers.

changes has been involved in this work from the beginning through the West Midlands/Black Country Hub and we have produced an evaluation of our work on ‘Impact! – Women Active in Community and Public Life’ programme (available in pdf format)

The Impact Evaluation Report (8 pages; 237kb)

The Original Report on Women, Leadership, Participation & Involvement (30 pages; 928kb)

Monday, July 17th, 2006 Equalities & Diversity

What is community engagement all about?

We have been trying to find straight forward ways of explaining community engagement and the motivations for considering it… Imagine a street of houses – you want to ask 16 householders a question – if you just go around the houses and ask them you will get up to 16 different replies. 😉

These replies will be largely concerned with that particular household – they won’t necessarily consider anyone else – and if they do, that view will likely be a perception – a guess about the concerns or issues facing others.

Alternatively – if you work with these 16 householders as a group – not only do they discuss and negotiate to reach a consensus on their collective priorities but it is likely that their discussion and their perception of what is possible will be much more sophisticated – and coherent. If you are working with them they should also get a realistic picture of the constraints that you are working within.

Similarly – just one person making connections with groups and communities in this way doesn’t cut it – their manager – and others – need to understand what they are doing, the motivations for doing it and what the benefits are to the organisation – micro and macro.

Monday, June 26th, 2006 Community engagement

Gender and Power: who runs Britain?

According to the Equal Opportunities Commission 2006 survey of women’s representation in positions of power, at the current rate it will take:

  • 20 years to achieve equality in civil service top management
  • 40 years to achieve an equal number of senior women in the judiciary
  • Up to 200 years – another 40 elections – to achieve an equal number of women in Parliament!!!

Download a copy of the Sex & Power report

Monday, June 26th, 2006 Equalities & Diversity

The Power Inquiry

The Power Inquiry – has decided to run a nation-wide campaign for a more responsive and empowering democracy following the huge amount of interest in their report which found that citizens feel systematically excluded from influence, equality and respect and alienated from decisions that affect their lives…

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006 Community influence


During our own exploration of influence – looking particularly at the ways in which community networks influence partnerships – we have identified 5 ‘methods’:

  • whispering
  • shouting
  • negotiating
  • taking action
  • being part of a bigger network

changes is currently developing a model about the ‘axis of influence’ – get in touch to know more or get on the discussion board if you are interested in exploring this further.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006 Community influence