Action Learning Programme

Common Cause Scotland and the UN Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development Scotland are running an Action Learning Programme (ALP) to develop practical approaches to applying Common Cause. The programme runs from September 2013 to February 2014.

Why an Action Learning Programme?

To build a more sustainable, equitable and democratic world, we need not only an empowered, connected and durable movement of citizens, but also social and organisational cultures and systems that make a greener, fairer lifestyle the accessible, default option for all.

Common Cause Action Learning Programmes (ALPs) support citizens - as individuals, practitioners or policy makers - to work more effectively within their communities, organisations and across society to create, develop and propagate cultures and systems that help realise these goals.

Enhancing community engagement with the natural world

Communities with a Common Cause is an Action Learning Programme (ALP) designed specifically for groups and organisations promoting community engagement with the natural world; whether directly at the grassroots or through policy, advocacy and grant giving. 

Our ALPs build effectiveness in changing cultures and systems by creating spaces for people to engage with their own deeply held values and explore with each other how this can inform their work. In doing so, people develop practical skills and real-life experience to put this approach into practice within their organisation and beyond.

Six workshops & mentor support

The ALP consists of six workshops – one per month from September 2013 to February 2014 – supported by a mentoring programme. The experiential workshops introduce a range of concepts and practical skills that can be used to develop and enhance values-based approaches. The sessions provide space for participants to discuss these approaches and develop plans for applying them in their work. Later sessions provide opportunities for participants to share their experiences of doing so and to refine their approach based on their, and others, experiences.

Between sessions participants are supported by experienced mentors from the organising team and develop skills in peer-mentoring.

For community groups, NGOs and government agencies

The ALP is for groups and organisations promoting community engagement with the natural world. This area has been chosen as it spans direct community action, the work of NGOs and government agencies, and has as the potential to address many sustainability issues including biodiversity and climate action, social cohesion and inclusion, health and well-being.

Participants take part in pairs from each organisation so that they can provide mutual support as they explore the potential of applying Common Cause in their work.

Participating organisations are drawn from community groups, NGOs and government agencies. This mix encourages the development of shared understanding and collaborative approaches across different ‘sectors’. 

Common Cause in practice

"a wakeup call" "a really enriching experience" "a unique opportunity" "a huge influence on my professional life"

Read about the experience of participants in an earlier Common Cause action learning programme here.

The schedule & outcomes

19 Sept 2013
Participants will gain a greater understanding of the science and theory behind Common Cause, its role in sustainability and the links with effective engagement with nature

9 & 10 Oct 2013
Increase their understanding of the importance of values for individuals and how these personal values affect engagement with organisations/issues/nature

14 Nov 2013
Enhance their knowledge of how to manage and support a process of organisational change from a values perspective

12 Dec 2013
Develop a strategy to engage values to enhance communication with partner organisations, funders, etc.

30 Jan 2014
Be able to effectively communicate the values of their organisation and understand the role of this in outreach, applications for funding and working with individuals/groups

26 & 27 Feb 2014
Evaluate their progress and define what support structures they need to ensure they can continue to develop and implement values-based change

(Please note: The workshops in October and February are residentials and will require an overnight stay for participants.)

A skilled & experienced team

The ALP is designed and facilitated by a team of practitioners who are leading the work of Common Cause in Scotland. They have considerable experience of applying values-based approaches to social and organisational change for sustainability and social justice, and the design and delivery of participative learning programmes.

Osbert Lancaster: Director, Changemaking / / 07981 528 991

Pam McLean: Managing Director, The Surefoot Effect / / 07970 327975

Anthony Morrow
: Natural Communities Co-ordinator, The Conservation Volunteers / / 01786 476183

Kerry Riddell
: Development Manager, Communities & Biodiversity, The Conservation Volunteers / / 01848 200381

Morag Watson
: Senior Education Policy Officer, WWF Scotland / 01350 728200

Read more about the team's experience here


Bumblebee Conservation Trust
Greener Kirkcaldy
Keep Scotland Beautiful
Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Scottish Natural Heritage
Stirling University Nature Society
Sustaining Dunbar 

Future Common Cause Action Learning Programmes

If you would like to discuss a Common Cause Action Learning Programme for your organisation, stakeholders or sector, please get in touch.

The Action Learning Programme is Supported by

Image credits: © 
Elena Blackmore via Common Cause; © Graham Burns, © Steve Earl-Davies, © Ian Creasey via Conservation Volunteers ImageBank

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