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The Rural Facilitator: a new course from Ruralink

A new professional development course for professional advisors, community convenors and other team and project facilitators has been designed as part of the GREAT Project in Gloucestershire. The inaugural course concluded in May, receiving hugely positive feedback from attendees.

One said: “On the next day, in work, I was already applying the principles.”

Another commented, “It was such a fun couple of days.”

The course is designed around three incremental levels of competence in leadership and interpersonal skills: Individual, Team, Project.

Each level is delivered as a two-day in-person module separated by about a month in which individuals are supported to begin implementing their learning in their work role. Throughout, the emphasis on practical and relaxed, fun interactive learning. Delegates have the opportunity to embed their learning through supported peer reflection and discussion. Real world examples are used to explore and develop facilitator best practice. Individuals are also supported to develop a course Action Plan which will be developed through the whole course and beyond.

Module A lays the foundations for the course. Delegates learn about their own strengths upon which they can build their own practice as a facilitator.

In Module B, delegates develop their practical ability to understand and influence groups of people. What makes a group into a team? How can a facilitator ensure the whole team works together towards a common goal? By examining real world rural examples, delegates work in small groups to consider alternative approaches to managing conflict, optimising team performance and leading effectively in a range of challenging team situations.

Finally, Module C builds on the Individual and Team skills of previous modules to enable the facilitation of more ambitious Projects in the food, farming and sustainability sectors. Delegates will gain an understanding of a project life-cycle, focusing on how the facilitator can enable timely, successful completion including getting the best possible involvement from all stakeholders.

The course culminates in a Project level exercise led by Jenny Phelps MBE, using the Integrated Delivery Model (ILM).

Discounted courses are available for booking starting from June. Future presentations are planned in Wiltshire and Oxfordshire later this year and then nationwide.

Centres wishing to discuss hosting future presentations of the course are welcome to get in touch via

If you want to book a space on one of the Rural Facilitator courses, visit our events page now.

To keep up with all the latest GREAT project updates, follow us on Twitter.

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