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Responding to the Big Society: flexible curriculum development for the community sector Sari Sirkia -Weaver (Canterbury District Community Alliance) Sharon Perera (Kent & Medway Lifelong Learning Network) Philip Moore ( Avante Partnership)

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Responding to the Big Society:

flexible curriculum development for the community sector

Sari Sirkia-Weaver (Canterbury District Community Alliance)

Sharon Perera(Kent & Medway Lifelong Learning Network)

Philip Moore (Avante Partnership)

Sofia Vougioukalou (Canterbury Christ Church University)

Nichola Van DerVilt(Canterbury Sure Start & Family Action)


The problem

  • ‘Big Society’: new role for charities, community and voluntary groups; social cohesion
  • Financial crisis, disruption of social institutions
  • Service delivery for the needs of health and social care sector
  • Lack of frameworks, benchmarks and infrastructure in voluntary sector

A solution: Co-development of new degree

Voluntary Sector Impact Analysis Foundation Degree in Volunteering

  • Bridging the gap between employers, volunteers and educators
  • Promotion of work based learning
  • Measuring impact of voluntary sector

Knowledge exchange

  • Accredited courses/CPD
  • Learners
  • Volunteers
  • Employees
  • Civil society orgs.
  • Public/private sector
  • Higher/ Further education institutions
  • Skills Need/Demand
  • Knowledge/ Expertise


Student recruitment;


Workforce development;




Community engagement

Sari Sirkia Weaver Manager HomeStart Canterbury and Coastal/ vice chair of Canterbury District Community Alliance C.D.C.A.

Canterbury District Community Alliance the mission :

“To represent, enable and strengthen the Civil Society Organisations so that we can work more effectively in partnership and achieve our shared aims “

the big society
The Big Society
  • Promoting social action
  • Empowering local communities
  • Opening up public sector contracts

“Government wants to invest in a new programme of strategic interventions which help Civil Society organisations to modernise and become more efficient & more entrepreneurial in order to take advantage of the opportunities ahead “

“The Government wants to encourage better connections both among civil society organisations and with public and private sectors –THE POTENTIAL TRANSFER OF SKILLS HAS HARDLY BEEN TAPPED “

The CSOs Civil Society Organisations Voluntary and Community SectorThe Third sector…. The Charitable sector
  • 171,071 organisations
  • Total income £35,5 billion
  • Paid workforce 668,000
  • Number of people formally volunteering 20,4 million
Vysiadeveloped from the need for CDCA to create an almanac / overview of the CSOs in Canterbury District:

Numbers of:

  • CSO organisation
  • Paid staff
  • Volunteers
  • Levels of funding
  • Number of services users
  • The impact on the service users
the benefits of vy s i a to csos
The benefits of Vy.S.I.A. to CSOs
  • Gives CSO added credibility in the increasingly competitive world
  • Staff and volunteers will acquire higher level of skills sustainability
  • Group of trained research volunteers can carry out research for organisations giving CSO an additional local resource
  • Volunteering as a stepping stone into employment
  • On going relationships with Christ Church University
the challenges
The Challenges
  • To deliver the “Big Society” CSO will need to supportto recruit, train and support increasing numbers of volunteers.
  • Increased demand on CSO services owing to the cuts in public sector and changes in benefits systems?
  • Can the CSO compete with private sector providers?
  • Vital the CSO is able to measure impact and outcomes
  • New organisational models: social enterprise and community interest companies (co-operatives and mutual societies?)
  • Health: GP based commissioning
  • CSO role: to supplement -not replace - public sector services!

Philip Moore

Volunteering and Community Engagement Manager

Project: A work project to scope the feasibility of developing the use of volunteers within the Avante Partnership

stage 1
Stage 1

With Supervisor, building a set of questions for an initial interview survey of Care Home Managers


  • to find out current level of volunteering in 10 out of 17 care homes
  • to ascertain future needs and opportunities.  
  • to gauge the level of interest and support in volunteer development

Results were informative and encouraging....

stage 2
Stage 2

Based on Stage 1, survey questionnaire (21 Qs) created to provide quantitative data with opportunity for qualitative comment

  • Sent to all 17 care homes for completion
  • Guided to break-down questionnaire information into more detailed data
  • Data, current and future, on gender, individual and group volunteering, range of roles and opportunities
  • Data, current and future, on safeguarding, selection, training, placement, supervision, policies and procedures
stage 3
Stage 3

.Collection and analysis of the data

  • Collection and data placed on Excel worksheets in numerical and graphic form
  • Linkages and correlations made for as much information as possible
  • Information used to present evidence to Senior Management and Board of Trustees
  • Information was of great value in agreement to invest in Volunteer development for the future
  • Volunteering and Community Engagement become an important part of company strategy and a new full-time post created

Work-based Learning in Higher Education

Sharon Perera

Workforce Development Manager

Kent and Medway Lifelong Learning Network

kent and medway lifelong learning network
Kent and Medway Lifelong Learning Network

Priorities for 2009/10:

Focus on

  • Progression of work-based learners
  • Embedding of projects and achieving impact
  • Sustainability

The F.D. in Volunteering project presented the opportunity to achieve our objectives

faculty of health social care
Faculty of Health & Social Care

Dr Sofia Vougioukalou

Senior Lecturer, Knowledge Transfer

Service Evaluation and Development

sedg service development and evaluation group
SEDGService Development and Evaluation Group
  • Programme evaluation
  • Audits
  • Community engagement
  • Organisational development
  • Social enterprise, new business model
  • Curriculum development
voluntary sector impact analysis
Voluntary Sector Impact Analysis
  • The review and development of the regional voluntary sector with staff from CCCU and the CDCA
  • Eventual production of a local almanac
  • Training volunteers in research methodology for health and social care
  • Volunteers develop research projects within their organisations in partnership with supervisors from CCCU
  • Out-reach events
  • Evening lectures
  • Research methods workshops
  • Mentoring schemes
  • Monthly steering committee meetings with members of CDCA, CCC and CCCU
  • An end-of-year project award competition
  • Conference participation
  • Dissemination plan

Volunteers as evaluators of

  • their organisation
  • F.D.V. modules
foundation degree in volunteering
Foundation Degree in Volunteering
  • Work-based learning & academic taught modules
  • CCCU sites: Canterbury, Broadstairs, Medway
  • 240 HL credits (Certificate: 120 HL credits)
  • Core modules:

Social Context of Health and Illness

Personal, academic and workplace development

Law and ethics in health practice

Critiquing research methods, research project

  • Specialist modules:

Volunteering 1 & 2

Person-centred approaches for people with a learning disability

Working with long term mental health problems

Enabling well-being in dementia care

The challenge of adolescence

communityengagement and knowledgeexchange
Communityengagement and knowledgeexchange
  • New model for flexible curriculum development
  • Co-development of evaluative practice
  • Benefits for CSOs, volunteers, HEIs
  • Culture of critical reflection in public bodies and charities
  • Shared learning and shared growth
  • Knowledge enfranchisement
  • Developing a sense of responsibility and a sense of shared ownership and connected citizenship
nichola van dervilt voluntary post natal depression peer supporter 2010
Nichola Van DerVilt

Voluntary Post Natal Depression Peer Supporter



My Future now looks brighter

Plus the lives of countless women


their families

Thank you Vy.S.I.A.



Canterbury Christ Church University

Core team: Adrian Adams, Antonio Sama, Katy Russ

Research assistants: Manuela Thomae, Maria Summerson

Supervisors: Mary McDonald, Agnes Gulyas, Nancy Clark, Judith Nabb

Canterbury District Community Alliance

Simone Field, Alex Krutnik

Canterbury City Council

Helen Carter



Thank you for listening,

any further questions?