The Community Leadership Academy is currently open for expressions of interest and nominations!
The Academy, which was set up in 2020 and will run until the end of 2022, provides support for the people making Big Local happen, by helping them to develop leadership skills and share knowledge that can benefit the whole community.
Across Big Local, people are working together to create lasting change. If you have experienced challenges but overcome them, brought people together and helped build community spirit then you are already playing a leadership role. The Community Leadership Academy could help your Big Local area achieve even more.
Created by Local Trust in partnership with Koreo, the Young Foundation and Northern Soul, the Community Leadership Academy provides structured support for community-led change as part of the Big Local programme and aims to increase our understanding of community leadership. Participants take part in a range of individual and group sessions, including personal coaching, to work on their own strengths and leadership style, develop leadership in others and set strategy.
Open to residents who are active volunteers involved in delivering Big Local projects, including Big Local partnership members, the Community Leadership Academy is looking for people who want to explore their own potential and the change they can bring to their neighbourhoods, by working effectively with others.
What will I learn?
One-to-one support is at the heart of the Community Leadership Academy. In a series of confidential conversations between you and a leadership coach, you will define personal goals and agree steps you can take to achieve them – all at your own pace and in your own local area.
Participants will also come together to explore common issues and work on shared priorities. There will be a chance to learn from the group, listen to speakers and share your own knowledge. The content of these sessions will be developed with you, and will include understanding your own leadership style, how you work with others, and how to work effectively within your local community.
Hear from last year’s participants
How to take part
The Community Leadership Academy is currently open for expressions of interest to join the programme in June 2021. There are two routes to express interest in taking part; to express interest yourself, and the second is to nominate someone else.
If you know that you want to take part in the Academy, or are part of a group from a partnership that wants to take part together, then you can express your interest straight away. In the first instance, that just means filling in your details in an online survey so that we can contact you for more information.
You’ll be asked for your contact details, to confirm you understand the nature of the programme, and we’ll ask you a question about why you’re interested in taking part. The process is exactly the same if you’re expressing interest as an individual or a group.
You can access that survey here, and will need to complete it before Friday 26th of February 2021 at 1pm.
We know that some people who are active in their Big Local might not think this is for them. Our experience so far is that this is often about confidence, and that it can make a huge difference if someone nominates them to take part. So, if there’s someone in your partnership who you think might gain something from this programme we’d strongly encourage you to nominate them.
If you want to nominate someone to the programme you’ll need to complete an online survey sharing your details, and the details of the person you’d like to nominate. We’ll then be in touch with the person you nominated to see whether they’d like to take forward an expression of interest. The process is exactly the same if you’re nominating an individual or a group.
You can access that survey here, and will need to complete it as soon as you can, but no later than 1pm on Friday 12th of February, so that whoever you’re nominating has the opportunity to decide whether this is for them and to express their interest.
If you have a question about this process, please do let us know on email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
The Community Leadership Academy is for any active volunteers involved in their Big Local who wants to increase their ability to make a positive difference in their community.
The Academy celebrates and supports a wide range of community leaders. There is no particular criteria for people to join the Academy, other than that you are actively volunteering in a . You do not have to be in a formal leadership role (like Chair) in your partnership, you do not have to be a particular age, and you do not have to have a minimum level of education. The most important thing is that you’re willing to learn and ready to commit to the experience!
Am I A Leader?
When we hear the word ‘Leader’, we often think of people with big personalities who have a lot of formal power. As a result, many people who are active in their communities either don’t see what they do as leadership, or feel uncomfortable being described as a leader. From our perspective, if you are involved in your Big Local and want to use your time and talent to make a positive change in your community, then you are showing leadership.
Many of the people currently participating in the Leadership Academy did not see themselves as leaders at the beginning of the programme, but are increasingly recognising that they are demonstrating leadership through their work. So regardless of whether you currently think of yourself as a leader if you think you would get something out of this programme, and in particular if you think your community might benefit from you taking part, we would encourage you to express interest.
I am a worker, can I take part?
The Community Leadership Academy offers specialised support for resident volunteers only, as this type of tailored support is almost non-existent elsewhere. We encourage Big Local workers to talk to their partnership and LTO to discuss training and professional development. We also offer many Big Local events which are open to workers.
I’m not a Big Local resident, can I be involved?
There are no particular criteria for people to be eligible to join the programme, other than actively volunteering to deliver Big Local in one of the 150 areas we fund. As Big Local is a place-based programme designed to benefit residents who live within these areas, we’d anticipate the majority of participants being residents.
Is there an age limit?
At this stage the offer is limited to those aged 18 or above. However, if you are interested in this kind of support and you are under 18 then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
Can more than one person from the same Big Local area take part?
You can take part in the Academy either as an individual, or as a group of people from the same partnership. If you are interested in participating as a group, you will need to find a minimum of 2, and a maximum of 4, other people from your Big Local partnership who want to do the programme with you. The programme itself will be the same however you participate, but given how important the partnership is in the Big Local programme, we think where possible it would be valuable for people to take part in the programme with other people from their partnership. If you want to talk further about participating as a group, please let us know and we’d be happy to speak to you! How will places be allocated?
We want to ensure the places at the Community Leadership Academy are allocated fairly and are representative of Big Local areas overall – we are particularly keen to reflect the diversity of individuals volunteering with Big Local.
Costs and timings
How much does it cost?
Taking part won’t cost you anything. Local Trust will be able to book and pay for your travel and accommodation before the group sessions.
Local Trust may also be able to cover childcare or caring costs whilst you attend sessions. Please contact Gabriel at email@example.com to discuss further.
Friday 12th of February 2020 If you want to Nominate someone forward for the Community Leadership Academy, you’ll need to complete the form by this date.
Friday 26th of February 2020 If you want to express interest in joining the Community Leadership Academy, you’ll need to complete the form by this date.
March 2020 People will find out if they have a place.
June 2020 Start of the programme.
How much time will it take?
Our expectation is that everyone taking part in the Academy will be able to commit at least 5 hours a month across coaching and group sessions.
We know how busy people involved in Big Local are. So we have tried to create a balance between having enough time with you for the programme to be valuable, while not expecting too much.
In order to do that, we have designed the programme so that there are ‘required’ and ‘optional’ parts to it. We’ll be really clear where something is ‘optional’, which usually means something will be recorded and will therefore be available to watch back later, and where something is ‘required’, meaning you’ll need to take part if you want to benefit from the full programme experience.
People who complete the required programme will be offered a certificate which confirms and celebrates that they have fully taken part in the Academy. In order to complete the Academy you will need to complete 9 coaching sessions and take part in all the required parts of the programme between May 2021 and October 2022.
Is there a course timetable?
Unlike standard training programmes, the Community Leadership Academy will be tailored to suit the people taking part. This means participants will be regularly invited to share their ideas and suggestions about what they want to learn within the structure of the programme.
This structure will be split into 3 broad sections, and each will have a different focus:
The first will focus on you, your motivations, interests, skills, experiences, development areas, and what they might mean for your work in your community. This section will cover topics like wellbeing, an introduction to leadership styles, and self-reflection.
The second will focus on how you are working with other people, and will cover issues like communication, dealing with conflict, how to facilitate groups, and developing leadership in others.
And the third will look at the wider picture, covering issues like recruiting new people into your partnership, working with people outside your partnership, how you can work with local authorities, and looking at inspiring community-led change across the country.
There will be different kinds of group session over the course of the programme. The key ones are:
Core Workshops: in these sessions you will work with a group of around 25 people to explore some of the key issues and questions around community leadership. Led by the programme partnership team, these sessions will be run over Zoom and last 3 hours (with plenty of breaks!).
Masterclasses: these short sessions will be open to everyone on the Academy, and are focused on hearing from people with a particularly important perspective on a topic. They will be recorded so that you can catch up on them if you can’t attend at the time.
Connection Sessions: We will provide regular spaces for you to connect with, share with, and learn from, each other as Big Local leaders. These spaces will last a couple of hours, will take place over Zoom.
What you’ll need to take part
We want to make taking part in this programme as easy as possible. We know that some people may feel less confident taking part in something like this, but please rest assured we are on hand to support. Here’s what you’ll need to take part in the programme:
Access to the internet: Given the uncertainty with Covid-19, we’re planning to work with video and video-calling for much of the programme, so you’ll need to be able to get online.
Technology: you’ll need a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone with a microphone and a video. We’d recommend you try and join with a computer, laptop or tablet if possible, as the bigger screen will make it easier for you.
Zoom: We’ll be using the video-calling platform Zoom, which is free to download, and is what we will use for all of the group sessions. You may also want to use this for your sessions with your coach. Instructions for how to use Zoom are available here, as part of Local Trust’s wider guidance on staying connected at the moment.
If you don’t currently have any or all of the above, or are worried about it, please do not let it stop you putting yourself forward. Please just let us know, as we are making sure support is available for all those interested in taking part.
I have a disability, will this be accessible?
We want to make the Community Leadership Academy as accessible as possible, so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have access requirements so we can understand your needs and discuss how we can support you.
There may also be other considerations such as health issues, childcare or caring responsibilities that you may feel could restrict your involvement. Again Please contact us at email@example.com to discuss further.
Finding out more
We know that this will be a step into the unknown for many people, so we will be running taster sessions in January 2021. They are an opportunity to find out more about the programme, meet some of the people who will be working on it, meet some of the other people who are interested in taking part, and see what it would be like to be in a session.
These sessions are open to anyone interested in the Academy, and will be a great chance to get a sense of the programme, so please join these if you’re interested in taking part but would like to find out more before deciding. We’ll also be recording these sessions so please get in touch even if you can’t make these times.
We know that sometimes it’s useful to have a chat with someone so you can ask specific questions you don’t want to ask in a group. So we’re going to offer a number of times over the next couple of months for you to have a chat with the programme team so they can answer any questions and help you work out whether this is for you. We will publish these dates here
on the Local Trust website following the taster sessions in January.
Ask a question
Finally, we’re on email and able to answer questions that way! If you have a question let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
Share with your Big Local area
Here are some images to use on your Big Local area’s social media when talking about the Community Leadership Academy!