OLGAs - Action Learning Sets for WCVA

We were commissioned by WCVA in 2014 to run action learning sets in North Wales for staff working on the Communities First programme. This learning, which is known by the acronym OLGA – Outcome Learning Group Action, works with small groups of people who share similar roles to focus on supporting each other with some of the work issues that are proving a challenge for them.

We are currently running two sets – one for staff working on the Prosperity teams and who work with people on low incomes to improve their situation through a range of mechanisms, including training, support with self-employment and volunteering etc.; and the other, recently started set is with the staff working on the health teams, who work to reduce the health inequalities faced by people living in disadvantaged areas.

The sets work by firstly practising techniques such as active listening and open questions, reflecting on how participants have learned in the past, and most importantly, abandoning some techniques which are not appropriate in an action learning setting, such as telling people what to do!

Individuals then bring an issue to the group, and through careful listening, questioning and support, each member is encouraged to consider an action which may help them move forward with their particular issue. The process allows people to think through different scenarios in a safe environment, and at the following meeting feedback is provided about their action, what worked, and what did not. From this, further actions will emerge until a manageable solution is found. Over a period of sessions, each member of the group will have the opportunity to share, and work on some of the apparently intractable challenges facing them in their work.

In the longer term, the plan is that each OLGA will continue to operate without the support of a facilitator, as staff become more experienced and confident in using the technique.

Project Closure and Succession Planning Training

In 2014 R4C consultants Helen and Cerys delivered some training "master classes" to European and Lottery fund grant-holders, the focus of which was ensuring the key components of project closure and succession planning were in place.  With WCVA we designed the agenda  and training plan then delivered interactive sessions which provided participants with not only the opportunity to discuss and consider the challenges facing them, but also gave them some tools to take away and use in their own projects.

For more information please contact Cerys.

You can find out more about the OLGAs on the WCVA website.

"Cerys’s careful facilitation of the Prosperity group has allowed a good level of trust to develop among the group, a critical element in any action learning set. What participants raise in the group remains confidential to it; however should there be a need to escalate issues there remains the opportunity do so. Cerys’s judgement in knowing when it is appropriate to do this is another key element in the groups’ early bonding."

Russell Todd, Communities First Advice Co-ordinator