‘Great to connect and learn new skills’: a review of our first Social Action Leader’s Network

Author's position
Advice Worker
Article date
15 July 2019
Primary interest
Voluntary sector

Last week the room was buzzing with the first network session for Reading’s Social Action Leaders. The session was attended by 18 representatives from a variety of grass roots community groups, who provide a wonderful range of activities to bring people and communities together, mostly on a completely volunteer led basis! As one attendee mentioned:

It was great to be able to connect with others from smaller groups like ours, and to learn new skills

What is the Social Action Leader’s Network?

Recognising that small community groups are often led by volunteers, or by a limited number of staff, and that the leader role can sometimes feel a little lonely with a lot to learn and juggle, from running activities to finding funding, managing volunteers, and ensuring all the governance is up to date, RVA is hosting a quarterly network for these Social Action Leaders to come together for peer support, to feel inspired and learn some new skills for managing and leading their group. Each network will have a theme and a speaker who will share their experience, best practice and of course their inspiration!

A review of the July network

The theme for the network was: Creatively Imagining what Success looks like for your Group, and Inspiring Others to get Involved. The theme was chosen to help groups to take a step back and review their vision, mission and activities.

This included a very inspiring talk from Aisha Malik, the manager from Reading Community Learning Centre, who shared with us the clear vision and mission for RCLC, the benefits of a strong and supportive Trustee Board, and how to bring your vision to life by involving everyone in your organisation in that process, from volunteers, beneficiaries, staff and trustees. Aisha has been the manager at RCLC for over 10 years, and she shared that:

even though it can be a challenging role with a lot of work, the job satisfaction is amazing and you do it out of love!

RCLC was recently awarded an extension of their Safe and Sound Award for a further 3 years, demonstrating continued good governance by those leading the charity, and also celebrated receiving 3 years core grant funding.

The talk was followed by table discussions, and the groups discussed the vision for their community groups, how they are sharing this with those involved in their groups, and how clearly their activities are linked to their vision and purpose. The room was buzzing with conversation and many appreciated the opportunity to connect and discuss with peers.

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Take a look at the presentation slides here


Groups represented:

The Sunday Assembley Reading
The Jamaica Society
Reading Food Growing Network
Depression Xpression
Champions to End Loneliness, North Reading
Buddies of Battle Primary Academy (BOBs)
Oxford Road Yoga for the Elderly
Friendly Gardeners Group
South Reading Patient Voice
Coffee and Craft

Next Network on 1 October 2019 – Save the date:

We’ll be back in the Autumn for the next Social Action Leader’s Network. If you are a trustee or lead volunteer of a small community group in Reading, come along and meet your peers, feel inspired and take away some handy tips for running your group.

Save the date Tuesday 1 October, 10am – 12noon
Further details and booking coming soon.

Further support and resources:

RVA Advice Service
Safe and Sound Quality Award
Volunteer Management Training
Training page

For further information, contact Herjeet Randhawa, RVA Advice Worker on 01189 372273 or email herjeet.randhawa@rva.org.uk.