Introduction to the course: Social Action in Community Spaces

There's never been a more important time for social action than now. No one yet knows the full impact of COVID-19, but one thing we are sure of is the enormous amount of healing that will be needed in order to reconnect with one another and with our communities when the wheels start turning again and schools return to a new kind of 'normal'.

During lockdown we learnt a lot about social action as a country. Many of us saw that our actions, big and small, helped vulnerable people around us in tangible ways - whether that was shopping for elderly neighbours, displaying rainbows on windows to raise morale, or donating to food banks. Many more people (children and adults) discovered that they too were capable of making a difference.



As human beings our communities are important to us. We rely on social contact with others for support, advice, entertainment, and mental wellbeing. Our community spaces play a vital part of this - being able to escape to a playground, sit in the library, exchange views on the high street or walk by a river are all important contributors to how we feel about ourselves and others. However, these places often do not feel welcoming, or safe, to children and young people, and so they are excluded or reluctant to access them.

This course is an introduction to using social action to improve community spaces, and aims to support adults working with groups of children and young people to help them make positive changes to the places where they live, in order to make them more welcoming and accessible to all.

The creation of this course has been funded through a grant from the Co-op Foundation #iwill Fund, and has been tailored from our already successful 'Introduction to Social Action for Primary Teachers' course to suit groups who know they are interested in developing social action projects involving 'community spaces'. Both this and the original course are entry points for the Make a Difference Challenge programme, although equally both are self contained, stand alone courses in their own right.

Once you finish the course, and also thanks to the Co-op Foundation, there's the opportunity to join our network of schools delivering social action projects by becoming one of our Making a Difference to Community Spaces schools. To do this you'll be asked to complete a short application form asking how you plan to deliver a community spaces project with your children. Successful schools will be given free access to the online Make a Difference Challenge teacher training (4 hours CPD) and resources package.

By the way - this course is designed to be used primarily by teachers working in England, and so if you're accessing this from elsewhere - welcome! - but remember you may need to tweak a few of the references to English policies and procedures to make them relevant to your own situation.