We are around nine months into our two-year Leonardo (Lifelong Learning Programme) Planning for Real Project and in June 2014 we were delighted to welcome our European partners to Birmingham.
Our partners from Pistes Solidaires in France, Euro Innovanet in Italy and IRT (Instytut Rozwoju Terytorialnego) in Poland visited Birmingham for the second project management meeting and also to participate in a two-day Planning for Real training workshop. In August our partners from Denizli Metropolitan Municipality in Turkey will also be joining us to participate in the two-day Planning for Real training.
This is a Transfer of Innovation Leonardo project through which we are adapting and transferring the Planning for Real® methodology into our partner countries. The Planning for Real process is well known across the UK and is largely based around UK culture, community engagement experience and governing structures.
For this project we are working with partners to adapt the methodology so that it is relevant to their own cultures and can be used in a variety of contexts outside of the UK. Understanding the different structures and hierarchies in place and the varying approaches and experiences of participative community engagement in our partner countries has been vital. This has informed how we have developed training and resources for a sufficiently flexible tool which partners will go on to pilot in their own communities.
We ran the training at MADE’s offices in the Jewellery Quarter and two representatives from each partner country were trained as lead facilitators. This made for a fantastic group as we introduced the different stages of Planning for Real and began to understand the challenges and subtle differences in approach that may be required in different countries.
Over the next few months we will provide mentoring support as our lead facilitators recruit a group of local residents in their respective countries, and we develop the training materials for the next stage of the process – training local facilitators in the Planning for Real process.
The final stage of the project will involve the lead and local facilitators in each country running a real-life project using their own adapted Planning for Real process. We will be evaluating how successfully the process transfers to different countries, cultures and contexts and the project will culminate in the development of a European Planning for Real product. We hope through the project to develop our own knowledge and we will apply our learning to ensure that the UK methodology moves with the times whilst retaining the original ethos. We will also build up a network of international Planning for Real facilitators and will continue to monitor and advise on the use of Planning for Real at home and abroad.