A FURTHER 26 local people have successfully completed the community development Activate courses supported by ng homes and delivered by the University of Glasgow.
The main aim of Activate is to give local people who are active in their communities an opportunity to reflect on what they do and why they do it, in order for them to be more effective in working for the communities where they live and work.
Those who participated and completed the course include ng homes’ tenants, people from the Asylum Seeker Refugee programme, ng homes Board members and staff and members of community and public organisations including Scottish Fire and Rescue Services.
Activate strengthens local networks and people attending get a chance to listen to each other and see different ways of working together. In particular, having a group where there is a mixture of ages, ethnic backgrounds and work or voluntary experiences enables participants to think more deeply about the work they are doing and challenge their own views and the views of others.
The areas covered by the course include the values and principles of community development, anti-discriminatory practice, power and participation, local and global links, group work, learning for change, monitoring and evaluation.
Over the period of time that ng homes has partnered with the delivery of Activate it has brought together volunteers and staff from a number of local community organisations.These include Phoenix Futures, Red Road Family Centre, Young Peoples Futures, Children Inclusion Partnership, North Glasgow Food Initiative, Depot Arts, Concrete Garden, Faith in Throughcare, Bridges project, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Services, ng homes and ng2.
Certificates were presented by ng homes Board Member Cllr Allan Stewart and MSP for Maryhill and Springburn Patricia Ferguson who recognised the impact the Activate course has had on participants with a Scottish Parliamentary Motion.
Amongst those who completed the latest course were Chairperson of Social Enterprise ng2 Margaret Thomson and Caroline Allison, an ng homes tenant.
Caroline, who has also recently completed a Community Achievement Award with Glasgow Kelvin College said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the Activate course and I was delighted to meet so many enthusiastic people from our community. It’s a great course and I would encourage people to do it.You learn so much, not only from the excellent tutors but also from your fellow students.”
Margaret Thomson added: “It’s a great course, it really makes you think about things in a different way and with people of all ages and backgrounds sharing their opinions it’s a wonderful experience.”
ng homes also won an award for its work on Activate last year from the Chartered Institute of Housing (Scotland) in the category ‘Excellence in developing skills and capacity’.
Regeneration Manager for ng homes Margaret Layden said: “We are committed to working with the University of Glasgow in developing community activists through this programme and we congratulate the latest participants on completing the Activate course.”
Professor Trevor Gale, Head of the School of Education at the University of Glasgow said: “There is no doubt that the students regarded the programme as a life-changing experience and that certainly was the view of the tutors I spoke with.There are many ways in which to change the world – Activate is one of them.”
Helen Martin, Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow said: “Activate also provides access to further and higher education and students who have completed it often move on to study at College or University.People progress into other areas of voluntary experience, further education or work.More than 1,000 people have been through the programme so far since it began 11 years ago!”
The work of Activate has also been recognised further afield as part of an international collaboration with Kettering Foundation and Talloires Network in the United States participating with a number of other countries.This has resulted in a book that will be published this year: Regional Perspectives on Learning-by-Doing: Stories from Engaged Universities around the World.
Activate is open to anyone over 16 years of age and there is no upper age limit. Those that take part will learn about community work and local/global issues through discussion and group work.Preparations are ongoing for an Activate course due to start in February/March 2016. Anyone interested should contact Margaret Layden, Regeneration Manager on 0141 560 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org