Sunday, September 12, 2010

Skills Development Workshop Information Session & How to Register for Workshops

FREE Skills Development Workshops Information session

Tuesday 24 August – Flowerdale Recreation Reserve
Notes taken at the session – 22 people in attendance

Welcome and Introductions – John Burgess FRC Chair

John highlighted the importance of skills training which will assist community members and committees in Flowerdale to prosper and learn new and important skills. Opportunity to have input into what is being offered and to assist in skilling up the community for the FRC transition planned for 18 December 2010. A further five sessions will be offered over the next few months with seven more sessions on offer next year to the Flowerdale community (to be negotiated based on community input).

John highlighted the fact that Flowerdale has done an amazing job in establishing and maintaining committees throughout the recovery period.

Overview - Patrick Moriarty – Our Community

Patrick gave a brief overview of possible options for training in the future – including governance, financial management, legal obligations, incorporation, volunteer support, marketing, understanding your constitution, running effective meetings, fundraising, grant writing, identifying where to get funds, attracting young people to your groups, succession planning and developing plans (e.g. fundraising plan or annual plan).

Issue Raised
• Where do you go to find out about available funds? Not sure where to even begin.
• Need to know what you are committing your group to before you apply for funds – e.g. reporting requirements, acquittal process, this is especially important if a fund of $500 requires an onerous amount of work - is it worth it?
• What are the steps for changing your group’s constitution?
• People in the community have been over consulted – all consulted out and sick of meetings – how can we sell community skills training sessions to an exhausted community?
• How do we set up guidelines for our group that truly work for us not against us?
• How do you escalate issues of concern to a community?
• How do we let funding bodies know when we are not happy with process?
• How can we save time on preparing funding submissions? Can we utilise local examples as a template to share?
• How can we improve on communicating effectively with each other (as committees) and look at skills required in active listening so that we can hear all community voices.
• How can we best share our collective wisdom and the lessons learnt by individuals and groups?
• How do we know what our responsibilities are in relation to specific model rules etc.?
• Would be good to focus on strategies for dealing with conflict and aggressive behaviours
• How can we evaluate our effectiveness?
• How can we work more effectively together? Is there really a need for 16 community groups across Flowerdale or could we consider a community cooperative? (Refer to Rein’s email below)
• Need to ensure people have proper induction process before committing themselves to roles and responsibilities within their community
• Is there a need to develop policies or understandings within groups that people only stay on committees for a short time frame – so people don’t stay on too long and become tired and stale?
• Strategies for ensuring respect and trust are maintained within communities.
• Desire to have the same facilitator at all Flowerdale sessions if possible as the community craves continuity and working with facilitators that have been accepted within the community (example of a facilitator who evoked community anger rather than participation was given).
• How do we sustain ourselves in the future?
• What does good succession planning look like?

People in attendance agreed that the information session had allowed for good open communication and agreed to promote the sessions more broadly within the community.

An email was circulated by Rein Kamar the day after the information sessions and has been added as a footnote.

Volunteer Co-operative?
At the Skills development Workshops Info Session held at the Spring Valley Rec Reserve on 24/08/10, a concept of something that, for want of a better term at the time, was referred to as a “Community Parliament” was raised. There was much excitement and enthusiasm about such a concept. However, having raised the concept in the first place, I am concerned that perhaps the idea is not properly understood. There was little time to flesh it out. Also, the unfortunate use of the term “parliament” has undesirable connotations.
All that I was suggesting is a process by which community volunteers and community committees can function effectively and efficiently through ongoing co-operation, training, communication and resource sharing – better referred to as something like a “King Parrot Volunteers Co-Operative”. In my opinion, any process has to be, and more importantly be perceived as, totally apolitical and non-hierarchical. The idea is definitely not to replace existing community committees, nor to place them under any sort of hierarchical umbrella organisation.
I believe for a “KPVC” to succeed and be inclusive of, and of full value to, the whole community it is vital that:
• It is not constituted as any sort of political or overseeing committee with its own office bearers, although a central contact/process/web site or whatever needs to be defined through which information can be disseminated outside of a regular meeting cycle.
• It must be purely a process through which individual community committees can get together to share progress, problems, training, experiences and strengths and thus understand one another and learn from one another. To share resources if such sharing is of benefit. To combine resources where appropriate.
• Meetings held under the banner of a KPVC must be regular (Twice a year? Once a quarter?) with the date, time and place of the next meeting defined at each meeting and widely advertised.
• It should be possible for special meetings/functions to be requested by community through a central contact/process/web site.
• Meetings must be open to all members of the community, not just those who belong to a committee. The KPVC is for all community volunteers….not just community committee members.
• Meetings under the banner of a KPVC must be chaired by someone totally independent, preferably not from the immediate community, and with no membership of any of the committees which attend or send delegates. Someone from MSC? Or another organisation (without clap sticks!). Failing that, meetings could be chaired by community volunteers or committee members on a rotational basis, but the chairperson must not be a member of a committee which has a particular issue to raise/resolve at the meeting.
• It is not to be, nor can it even be perceived to be, another incarnation of the Flowerdale Recovery Committee. While we all recognise that the FRC has done fantastic work, rightly or wrongly, for real or perceived reasons, the FRC is not seen as an all-inclusive body throughout the entire community.

A “King Parrot Volunteers Co-Operative” (call it what you want), must be something new and fresh, open to all, and non-decision making in itself. A co-operative helping to provide participants with the tools, knowledge and experience to make the best decisions for themselves. All rather utopian…but as I said last night…if we can get a workable Federal Government out of the current situation, then surely this community can make this work!

Not too late to register for Skills Workshops see detail below:
Skills Development Workshops