We designed and deliver the successful Neighbourhood Workers Programme to empower more residents and community workers to develop and support local communities.
Participants benefit from a mix of practical work experience, peer learning and formal accredited training. They gain skills and knowledge (plus a qualification for their CV) to empower communities, support social action, and engage local people in decision-making.
The programme is aimed at residents looking for a career in community work and organisations who want to train their staff in capacity building.
Neighbourhood Workers attend a mix of one and two-day training sessions over a nine month period including lectures, discussions, group work and individual activities. They cover topics including equality and diversity, fundraising and managing money, presentation skills, resident involvement, tools and techniques for engaging communities, and personal effectiveness.
The training is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), and Neighbourhood Workers can obtain the CIH Level 2 qualification in Community Action. Valuable peer support is provided throughout the course enabling participants to meet regularly and share experiences, skills and knowledge of community work and housing. This is a really effective way to enhance their learning experience.
The course also involves regular Action Learning Sets, where participants explore and create solutions to challenges they have experienced in the workplace or in their personal life. This promotes good listening and questioning skills, and helps develops trust amongst the group.
Our programme benefits residents, staff and the sponsored organisations in many different ways.
Residents receive practical experience (paid or unpaid) and accredited training. This is often a stepping stone to a career in community work, tenant participation or housing. Staff get to increase their skills and learn new methods of successful community engagement and development. Sponsoring organisations benefit from having a dedicated Neighbourhood Worker providing a bridge between the organisation and the local community, with a focus on improving community capacity and involvement.
We are currently looking at ways to make the Neighbourhood Workers programme bespoke. By adapting the training to fill any gaps in the individual’s knowledge and experience we will be better able to meet the specific needs of different communities.
Ade Ogundokun was a participant on the 2011 Neighbourhood Workers Programme. He was employed on a part-time basis by Carpenters TMO and worked alongside two other Neighbourhood Workers.
Ade engaged in a wide range of community activities during his time with Carpenters TMO. He developed and secured resources for a music project delivered in partnership with Red Bull Music Academy. This supported 15 young people from the estate to develop their writing and team working skills. He is also in the process of setting up a Youth Board on the estate that will provide a voice for young people in the management of the estate. More generally he has supported young people to develop their skills, access employment opportunities and improve their interactions with the wider community on the estate.
"The Neighbourhood Worker programme has improved my life a great deal. It has built my confidence and I have gained so much knowledge and skills. I am so thankful for the support I have received from Prentis & NewmanFrancis since I started the programme. I am financially so much more independent and feel that it makes me a better role model for my children."Marcia Joseph, Neighbourhood Worker
"The neighbourhood worker scheme has offered a life changing opportunity to two local and unemployed residents of our estate" Roy Read, Chair, Bloomsbury EstateManagement Board