Learning Workshops


Learning Workshops

Learning workshops enable you to explore a topic in more depth, combining expert input and learning with your peers and identifying actions you can take to affect change. The topics covered are based on key themes (e.g. strategic priorities and skills) prevalent across the network. WHERE THE GREEN BOX APPEARS, PLEASE OPEN THE DESCRIPTION AND CLICK THE BOOK HERE BUTTON TO BOOK YOUR PLACE.

Learning Workshops Please open the description and click the Book here button to book your place.

A backbone organisation is a critical but behind-the-scenes organisation for collective impact initiatives and social movements. Two years ago, Active Gloucestershire began exploring whether to adopt this model. We went through an 18 month test period before the Board made a final decision, in October 2019, to go for it. Bob Thust, from Practical Governance, guided us through this process. This session will explore what a backbone organisation is, why it feels like a good organisational model for Active Partnerships (particularly those hoping to build movements), what it means to become one and the changes Active Gloucestershire have had to make. Who is the session for? Directors, Board members, SMT, ops leads Facilitator(s): Deborah Potts, CEO, Active Gloucestershire; Bob Thust, Practical Governance Related Links: Click here for related links Click here to view more content

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn’. Benjamin Franklin’s oft quoted remark rings true today with top performing organisations more than 5 times likely to have a learning culture thriving in their practices. And with continuous learning at the forefront of system working and thinking, this is highly relevant for all leaders seeking to develop effective place-based working practices. Whilst most leaders would say they support learning in their teams, developing processes and a culture which enables all its organisation’s individuals to seek, share, develop, innovate and reward through learning can seem complex.

This session explores the why, what, how and when of building a learning culture. Sharing good practices, tools, quick and long-term wins, it is designed to help leaders identify the needs of its organisation and take away ideas, practices and a commitment to improving their organisational effectiveness through learning.

Who is the session for?

CEOs/Directors, members of senior leadership teams, Workforce Leads and those responsible for organisational development within their teams.

Facilitator(s): Ali Shipway, Director of Shipway Consulting Ltd who, as an expert on leadership and learning is a passionate advocate of business improvement and the development of high performing teams. With a background supporting Active Partnerships as a Quest Facilitator, and Active Partnerships National Board Trustee, Ali has an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities across the sector and landscape. www.shipway-consulting.co.uk.

Pre-reading: https://shipway-consulting.co.uk/blog/

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A webinar looking at how mental health and physical activity are interlinked and support for the sector during this challenging time

The webinar will cover the following:

Part 1: The journey of the sport, physical activity and mental health sector

  • Overview of the past 5 years
  • Good Practice of Embedding mental health and physical activity - Springfield Mind & Think Active (CSW), London Sport - PAfH/IAPT group, Active Oxfordshire, Rampton Hospital

Part 2:  Mental health support for the sport and physical activity sector

  • Mind’s new Mental Health Support for the Sport and Physical Activity Sector document and graphic
  • Mind’s Regional Networks

Part 3: Coronavirus and wellbeing

  • Update from Mind
  • Support available for the sector

Who is the session for?

Colleagues focusing on mental health in their Active Partnership

Facilitator(s):  Karla Burton (Physical Activity Officer (Regional Support, Mind) & Sam Perks (Sector Support Lead for Physical Activity, Mind)

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This is a here and now conversation; very fast moving and continuously changing but we think coming together to discuss, will help us all. We can facilitate but it will be led by the people who are part of the digital discussion. We hope it will enable people to feel supported and connected to others in a similar situation and most importantly provide a platform to ask questions, share ideas and hear practical examples that are useful to consider now and in the future when we talk about working with our communities. 


Who is the session for?

Open to any Active Partnership staff that are working closely with communities, in a place based way or specifically with low socio-economic groups.

Facilitator(s): Kirsty Dunleavy, Active Gloucestershire and Kathryn Mudge, Yorkshire Sport Foundation


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This learning session will explore the strategic context for social prescribing for England and the latest policy developments taking place including the latest on supporting the new 1,000 Link Workers and the new National Social Prescribing Academy. The session will then put a spotlight on the work being done by a number of Active Partnerships around upskilling social prescribers to better understand the benefits of sport and physical activity and ways in which Active Partnerships are working to increase and improve community capacity to provide a welcoming and high quality experience for individuals with long-term health conditions.

Who is the session for?

Any Active Partnership who is already working in or beginning to work on the social prescribing agenda and are interested in hearing more about the different ways Active Partnerships are working in this space.

Facilitator(s):  Jo Robins (NHS England Regional Facilitator – Midlands Social Prescribing Network), Abi Dixon (Think Active), Charlie Crane (Active Partnerships National Team), Tom Burton (National Partnerships Lead (Health & Inactivity) Sport England), Delia Beck Partnerships Lead (Market Development and Active Environments), Sport England).

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One in five people in our population are disabled or live with a long-term health condition. Yet the stark reality is that disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive. Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is an exciting programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Funded by Spirit of 2012, Sport England and London Marathon Charitable Trust, all partners are focused on getting some of the UK's least active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities.

We will be looking at strategies around supporting inactive people to become active focusing on local examples of differing levels of support. This will also take into account challenges faced due to COVID-19 and being active at home.

Who is the session for?

Colleagues looking to tackle inactivity and create the conditions locally for disabled and non-disabled people to be physically active together.

Facilitator(s): Helen Derby (Activity Alliance, GOGA England Manager) and Nicola File (Activity Alliance, Engagement advisor)

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Evidence is growing that the design of our neighbourhoods, transport routes, work places and wider built environments can have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of our local communities. The workshop will cover:

  • Case study of outcomes from Healthy New Town Bicester programme and resulting expansion of the work and system impact.
  • Influencing Norfolk’s system leaders - implementing Active Design principles
  • Group discussions on stakeholder identification, prioritizing opportunities and capacity

Who is the session for?

  • Active partnerships engaged in implementing Active Environment policies and plans – sharing learning
  • Active partnerships with an interest in developing a place-based approach to tackling inactivity through Active Design principles

Facilitator(s): Simon Hamilton, Strategic Director at Active Norfolk & Dr Rosie Rowe, Oxfordshire’s Lead for Healthy Place Shaping and Dave Stock (LRS)

Simon is a Strategic Director at Active Norfolk, one of the Sport England Extended Workforce roles. His background is 20 years in the RAF as an RAF Regiment Officer, working globally protecting RAF personnel and aircraft from attack. As a Squadron Leader he specialized in strategy development, innovation and commanded a squadron on UK and overseas operations. He spent a year as Transformation Director at Buckinghamshire NHS Healthcare Trust before joining Active Norfolk in January 2019.  His work as a system connector is focused on ensuring Norfolk’s built environment and open spaces enable and support people to be more active.

Dr Rosie Rowe, is Oxfordshire’s Lead for Healthy Place Shaping.  After initially working with a national health care charity, she joined the NHS to lead quality improvement in integrated community health and social care in Bath & North East Somerset.  Subsequently she focused on the sustainability and development of General Practice supporting the establishment of GP Federations and the delivery of enhanced primary care in Oxfordshire before becoming the Bicester Healthy New Town Programme Director.  Following the success of this pilot programme, Rosie is now responsible for scaling the healthy place shaping approach to other areas of growth in Oxfordshire.

Related Links:

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If you’re involved in supporting people in communities to become more active, you’ll know it’s hard work.  You might be having problems in getting your message across, or influencing other people, or simply getting heard in the first place, especially when you’re working across organisational or sector boundaries.  There might be all kinds of cultural and political issues in play. Things might feel messy and difficult to navigate; there will be no easy answers, and no simple lever marked ‘CHANGE’ that you can pull for things to magically happen.

So this would be tough even in the best of times.  You’ll have noticed that we’re not in the best of times.  So this webinar will look at what you can do differently, in these circumstances, to tip the scales in your favour, find some allies and some room for manoeuvre, do real work on things that matter to you, and make real progress towards the change you’re aiming for.

We’ll use Systems Leadership approaches to help with all these things.  Systems Leadership is designed to help you lead when things are messy and complex, and we’ll cover the main approaches; what you can do; what to watch for; and tools and techniques that you can take away and use straight away.  This will be a practical and interactive session, and we want it to be genuinely helpful for you.

The webinar will be delivered by Debbie Sorkin, National Director of Systems Leadership at the Leadership Centre (www.leadershipcentre.org.uk), who is a regular contributor to the LGA/Sport England ‘Leadership Essentials’ programme in relation to Systems Leadership.

Who is the session for?

People operating at all levels interested in developing their system leadership skills.

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As active partnerships rise to the challenge of their new primary role what can we learn about what works in terms of embedding activity for the 55+ age group into local health systems?  Furthermore, what are the opportunities and challenges for this and other work in light of the current and unprecedented global crisis?

In this webinar we will ruminate four fundamental questions:

  • What does it mean to work collaboratively and how do you engage the right people?
  • How do you influence decisions made about strategy, commissioning and resources at a local level?
  • What are the key skills and levers you need to deploy to ensure activity for the 55+ age group has legitimacy in your area?
  • What can we learn about system change in times of crisis?

You will hear about system changes to embed physical activity in primary and secondary care in Dorset with a focus on Falls and Musculoskeletal Health and you will have the opportunity to share learning about what works in practice.

Join us for this interactive webinar designed to help all of us navigate both existing and uncharted territory.

Who is the session for?

Colleagues engaged with health systems and older people work.


Facilitator(s): Charlie Coward, Active Ageing Project Manager, Active Dorset & Michaela Pinchard.

Charlie manages a system change project to embed physical activity across Dorset’s Integrated Care System. Charlie’s role is designed to enhance collaborative working, she splits her working week between Active Dorset, Dorset CCG and Public Health Dorset offices.

Michaela is a management consultant and coach with a background of 35+ years in the field of social care which includes operational management, policy, partnership and integration with the NHS.

As a consultant, coach and facilitator, Michaela has worked across the country with a portfolio of social care, health and charitable sector clients. Commissions have included board and team development, strategy development, service review, interim management and one to one coaching.

Michaela is also trained as a peer reviewer with the Local Government Association and has worked on a number of peer reviews and sector-led improvement initiatives around the country.

Michaela has always had a passion for physical activity, health and well-being. She volunteers as a Non-Executive Director for an Active Partnership and as a Director of a Community Interest Company which provides support for adults and children with additional needs using the natural environment.

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With many organisations adopting software to improve the way they work, the challenges for non-profit organisations in implementing traditional CRM systems are well documented. This workshop seeks to explore the benefits that adoption of a relationship management system can bring to Active Partnerships, and the challenges they may face. We present practical solutions to these challenges in the form of Mantle, a relationship management system designed in collaboration with Active Suffolk and Active Essex. The workshop will close with an insight into how a unique opportunity in artificial intelligence and machine learning can make big data analysis a reality for Active Partnerships.

Related links:

How Active Suffolk are using Mantle to overcome remote working challenges


Who is the session for?

  • Active partnerships with an interest in strategic analysis and improvement
  • Active partnerships with an interest in relationship management software


Chris Girdlestone, Founder of Hut Forty Two and Mantle
Sean Naylor, Implementation Overseer of Mantle

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