Simple Group Workshops
"how to help your community create its
vision - step by step guide to workshop"
As part of a wider meeting about your community you may like to
split people into smaller groups and invite them to think about their vision. By giving
people some structured activity and allowing them to work with a smaller number of people
you can encourage quieter people to speak and some imaginative ideas to flow.
Set the room up in such a way as to allow people to be able see each
other and move around easily (consider if people who use wheelchairs or have other
mobility problems are going to be attending the meeting and as well as having accessible
premises, ensure they can get around the room.)
Make sure groups know what is being expected of them before they
start. The chairperson or facilitator of the meeting should use their introduction to
enthuse people about the task.
Groups of between 7 and 10 work best. Try to have one facilitator
per group to ensure that people introduce themselves. If the facilitator can introduce
himself or herself first they will set the tone for the rest of the introductions. If you
want more than just names, then ask the facilitators to describe where they come from and
why they came tonight. That way, other people will feel more confident to do the same.
Ask someone in the group to agree to write up the key points. Agree
beforehand how you want the discussion written up. It helps if people know they only have
five minutes to present 4 points at the end. No one appreciates someone giving a
blow-by-blow account of his or her particular group for 25 minutes at the end of this sort
of session! It is the facilitator's task to ensure that everyone is saved such
Encourage the group to brainstorm a range of
actions/projects/initiatives which would contribute to achievement of your vision for your
community, and create new opportunities for local people. Remember that brainstorming is a
technique, which allows people to be completely creative, and at the time that it is
taking place, ideas are accepted as they are presented and not analysed or discussed.
Then take your brainstormed list and discuss the possibilities,
finally choosing up to 4 projects which would create the most positive change in the
community. For each selection project/initiative write a short description including:
- a title
- one or two sentence description
- list of key elements
Put each project/initiative on a separate piece of butcher's paper
or overhead projector acetate. Make sure each project is discrete, practical and
Share the group's ideas with the wider audience.
At this point it may help to have a skilled and confident
facilitator to listen to the ideas which are presented, and to note them down in such a
way as to allow everyone to see.
Once you have pulled all the ideas together and had a general
discussion, you may like to get the original groups back together so they can refine the
accepted ideas, or as a second step in the process to agree what ideas should be taken
This way people have real ownership of the ideas and will be more
enthusiastic about coming back to further meetings or doing more work on projects when
they are finalised.