The 39 ‘Taking the Lead’ participants, selected in the Autumn, were first taken through a psychometric profiling called Lumina Spark. They were then invited to meet into focus groups, facilitated by Odyssey, the consultancy delivering the programme. There they discussed the challenges they face and what they think are priorities for AONBs across the country.
This all led to the ‘Taking the Lead’ Launch Event, held at the Impact Hub in Birmingham on 16th January. All participants were gathered for a day with the following objectives:
- Ensure everyone understands why this programme and why now;
- Confirm everybody is ‘on the same page’;
- Agree on the areas for the Topic Working Groups;
- Agree on the behaviours that are going to deliver results;
- Ensure everyone is clear about the programme design and delivery methods.
Participants exchanged in small groups and with the whole cohort on some key topics stemming directly from the focus groups: technology, data and systems, the relationship between AONBs and the NAAONB, external and internal communications, income and funding, collaboration, and staff development. They questioned what is established and thought about how to improve our ways of working in each of these areas.
Odyssey then led them through a group exercise which enabled them to uncover from practice what collaboration and problem-solving mean for them. This brought about some extremely constructive thinking which will pave the way for how ‘Taking the Lead’ participants will approach Topic Working Groups. These will be established at the end of February, when the cohort will be brought together again.
“[‘Taking the Lead’ is about] having an involvement in the development of the whole national piece for the AONBs, from the NAAONB as a charity to having an input into what’s going on nationally for the whole of the AONB family”. “[What I will take from it personally], I think having opportunities to network with other AONB colleagues, improving the link ups that I’ve got with different people with different skillsets and I think also the opportunity to learn a bit more about myself through the Lumina profiling and see how I fit in better with my team locally.”
Ruth Ainsworth, Communications and Funding Officer, Arnside & Silverdale AONB
For more information on the Future Landscapes project, please visit the Future Landscapes webpage.