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Chairs action learning group

A series of problem solving meetings

Tuesday 13 June 11:00am - Tuesday 19 September 3:00pm


Book now by contacting Sarah Donohoe on 0778 662 7692 or email

About this event

The meetings are designed to help you explore the task of chairing a partnership, to develop new skills, and to build a wider network of support of others who have also taken on the role of Big Local chair or co-chair.   


  • Be part of a small group of peers who meet regularly.
  • Work through the real life issues you face in your role as chair.
  • Use critical thinking to look at challenges from a new perspective.
  • Learn a new approach to problem solving.

What is action learning?

‘Action learning’ is an approach to solving real problems using both thinking and action. A group of people who all have something in common (in this case chairing a Big Local partnership) meet regularly to work through the issues they each face and come up with new solutions using critical thinking.

It is a structured process based on asking open questions that helps you to explore ideas and challenge perceptions in a trusting and supportive environment. As well as bringing your own challenges to the group you also have the opportunity to learn from those of your peers.

The meetings are designed to help you explore the task of chairing a partnership, to develop new skills, and to build a wider network of support of others who have also taken on the role of Big Local chair or co-chair.

Dates and location

A group can accommodate up to 10 people and will meet every four to six weeks in the same location.

June to September 2017

Location: Bristol

  • Meeting 1:  Tuesday 13 June
  • Meeting 2: Tuesday 18 July
  • Meeting 3: Tuesday 15 August
  • Meeting 4: Tuesday 19 September

Venue: The Station, Silver Street BS1 2AG for first meeting and M Shed, Princes Wharf BS1 4RN for remaining meetings

How the group works and what will be covered

Each meeting follows a structured process. Four meetings of each group will be facilitated by Ben Lee and Sarah Donohoe from the National Association for Neighbourhood Management. Their role is to facilitate the learning.

At each meeting those taking part will agree on two or three problems or challenges to work on in depth during that particular session. The following meetings will always start with a recap of how things have gone with the problems discussed at the previous meeting.  Over the course of the four meetings everyone who wants to present their own problem or challenge will have a chance to do that.

Here are some examples of the kinds of issues you might explore:

  • Sharing the work – how do you make use of everyone’s skills on the partnership to share the work across the group and not just a few.
  • Succession planning – how do you identify and support other people so that others have the skills and confidence to take on the role of chair when you step down.
  • Community engagement – how do you keep the wider community informed and in touch with Big Local progress and activities.
  • Working with others – what are the best ways to work with your locally trusted organisation, support workers and service providers so that your Big Local plan is delivered as you intended.

If you sign up you should be willing to commit to attend all four of the meetings and in order to attend you need to be a chair, co-chair, or vice-chair. You need to be willing to talk openly, be supportive and share the challenges you face in your role.

More about this event


Book now or ask a question

The action learning groups are being organised for Local Trust by the National Association for Neighbourhood Management. If you are interested in attending, or want more information, please contact Sarah Donohoe by email on or phone 0778 662 7692

What does it cost to attend

This group is free to attend and we will provide lunch. We provide financial support for travel, childcare and other care costs to residents in Big Local areas. We can also book and pay for travel in advance. If you have a long journey and would struggle to make it on time, we can also arrange and pay for your accommodation. Just ask when booking.

For information on expenses and support, please email  or phone 020 3588 0578.

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