Stowarzyszenie Centrum Wspierania Aktywnosci Lokalnej Cal

Sostenga delivered a 3 year contract to develop community work training in Poland. A partnership between CAL, a Polish NGO, the Polish Government and EU funding created a project to develop the skills of social workers in Poland. Sostenga is involved in the part of the project which is aiming to develop specialism in community social work/ community organising/ community development which social workers can take as post qualifying training. There are a number of strands to this work organising exchange trips to UK for the steering group and for project participants from rural areas, small towns and cities, and a final one for those who will take the project forward; the visits  are to community projects within different arts of the UK working with the project to devise the outline training programme and to supply a range of training materials that could be adapted and used on the programme working with the project to develop an impact evaluation process for the project attending conferences and providing input on different topics.

Poland Small Town Visit

The small town visit to Brighton and surrounding area was the second visit of the project and the first for participants on their new course programme. The Visit ran from the 9th to the 13th of May 2011. The participants were from small towns in Poland and had a chance to visit towns of different sized along the south coast near Brighton.

Poland Rural Study Visit

The Polish rural study visit to Yorkshire and the Humber from 11th to 17th September 2011 was organised and facilitated by Sostenga as one of a series of themed visits by Polish community workers to study Community Development theory and practice in England.

The visit combined sessions on the economic, political and sociological context for Community Development work, inputs and workshops on topical issues and practice, and a series of visits to different community projects across the region. The group studied a range of issues including the structure of the British welfare benefits system, the treatment of Travelling communities, and poverty and inequality in the UK. Among the visits were a community-led social care project in a very remote rural area, children and family action projects, a community-owned and run public building, and community transport and befriending, groups.

Polish Cities Study Visit

This was the fourth out of five visits by social workers involved as students in a Community Development training project in Poland. This group of 24 students were all employed in city-based work so our focus was on four northern cities with projects illustrating different aspects of Community Development. These were Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and York.

The days included both presentations by experts in the field within their own setting and visiting speakers and short presentations around community development and social work.

The visits in these cities were planned around five themes:

  • New CD Context
  • Marginalisation
  • Regeneration and Environmental Issues
  • Social Policy & New Innovations
  • Diversity

Polish Educators Visit

The final visit to the UK was in September 2012, when a group of Polish community development educators visited Leeds.  The first day was spent in the hotel in Leeds hearing from a range of speakers including the England Standards Board and Leeds Metropolitan University.  On the second day, we took them to Northern College near Barnsley, which is a community based educational institution in a beautiful setting.  As well as input from Northern College staff, we had speakers from the Workers Educational Association and from the Active Citizenship project at the University of Lincoln.  Susi Miller from FCDL was there in the afternoon involving the visitors in some truly participative learning.

Other visits during the week included Manningham Mills Community Association, Manningham Sports and Community Association, Forster College in Bradford and Bradford Community Radio.  The week ended with a return visit by Susi to help the group complete the river exercise started on Tuesday and lunch at the Hamara Centre.  The Polish group were openly appreciative and provided each speaker with a gift from Poland.