A Bold Solution To Reinvigorating Communities

Community Background

Many community-focused organisations are searching for solutions to help rebuild after Covid-19 and figuring out how best to support their communities to grow and thrive.

We’ve been talking with Pam Shaw, WEvolution’s Enterprise Officer and Partnership Manager, and learning about the new Peer to Peer Power Lab workshop she has been working on. The workshop is aimed at third-sector organisations aiming to reinvigorate their communities with progressive methods and could be the solution that these groups are looking for. But what is Peer to Peer Power Lab we hear you asking? Pam has all the answers.

“Peer to Peer Power Lab helps organisations or individuals to understand what Self-Reliant Groups (SRGs) are and how they might implement them into their organisations. There is obviously more content to the workshop regarding how Self-Reliant Groups work, and how they can be used by individuals, but primarily it is a workshop to understand what SRGs are.”

The workshop, which takes place over three days from 17th November to 19th November, goes in-depth about the start-up of SRGs, understanding ongoing group development, and drawing a road-map to get organisations started on the SRG journey. So, if you sign up for Peer to Peer Power Lab and attend, how does it work?

“We used to do these workshops face-to-face but now conduct them virtually. The format has changed over the last couple of years but the content has remained consistent, whether it is face-to-face or virtual. First of all, we look at the history and the background of what SRGs are, what makes them stand out from other groups, and we talk about the WEvoltution way and what that is. SRGs are this collaborative group of 3 – 5 people meeting, saving, and creating but what we offer in the workshop is for organisations and individuals to be able to understand how they can get up-to-date information, the chance to speak with existing SRG members, and what impact their group has had on their lives, their families, and their communities.”

There is a lot to Peer to Peer Power Lab – which you would expect for a 3-day workshop! We aim to keep it fun and involved and we utilise a variety of methods to keep people engaged throughout. Pam acknowledges that we want this to be the first step for organisations adopting the SRG model and implementing it into their processes. People come away from the session with a deeper understanding of what Self-Reliant Groups are and how to successfully introduce them into the organisation. Pam provides a number of examples to highlight how the SRG model can be shaped for each unique entity.

“Say for example you work for a housing association and you have a great gardening project planned and have secured funding. You work with the individuals on the gardening project over the planned period of time, the project comes to an end, and funding runs out. However, the individuals working on the gardening project might be keen to take it further. It might be growing fruit and vegetables, creating gardening equipment, or something along those lines. What we can offer them as an SRG is being able to say they are self-reliant and don’t need the housing association to run their project. They can do it on their own and they can grow and develop independently. They have the opportunity to save, sell products, run other projects for more people, showcase their skills, and the initial project can grow into new things.”

In essence, forming an SRG allows the group to receive support from organisations but not have to rely on them to control every aspect of what they are doing. SRGs have the freedom and independence to work on their own projects, either as an individual or part of a group, and allow them to grow into bigger possibilities. There is no wrong way to run an SRG – each group adapts to the plans the members set out and how they want to implement them. We at WEvolution simply help to guide them along this journey to self-reliance.

To learn more about Self-Reliant Groups and how they can be used by your organisation, join us at our Peer to Peer Power Lab workshop.