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					Toolkit for Managers

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                                Toolkit for Managers

About this toolkit

This is a toolkit for managers and other staff in organisations who want to set up
or are already developing Community Learning Champions (CLC) schemes. The
toolkit draws on the experience of a number of successful schemes to provide
clear, useful information to help you create an effective and sustainable scheme.

The toolkit is one of a group of items produced for the CLC national support
programme. Other resources include the Toolkit for Community Learning
Champions and a training pack. You can find all the materials on the Community
Learning Champions website at

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Introduction                                                          4
Section 1      Setting up a scheme                                    9
Section 2      Getting going                                         27
Section 3      Taking the scheme forward                             56


Each section provides examples of policies, checklists and other documents to
help you plan and run your scheme. You can copy the word-processed files, add
your own logos and adapt them to suit your needs. Further examples from CLC
schemes are available on the Community Learning Champions website –

The toolkit aims to be as easy to read and jargon-free as possible. In places,
however, you will see some words and phrases from the world of education that
you may not be familiar with. A glossary is therefore provided with the toolkit on
the Community Learning Champions website

For more in-depth guidance on specific issues, the toolkit provides links to other
websites. The list of relevant organisations and websites is also provided with the
toolkit on the Community Learning Champions website

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Many successful learning champions’ schemes in different parts of the country
have developed toolkits to suit their local contexts. This toolkit draws on these
resources. We are very grateful to the schemes who shared their resources and
to those who commented on the draft of this toolkit.

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Informal adult learning is learning for its own sake rather than to get a
qualification. The term covers a great variety of activities, from foreign language
classes to local history clubs, reading groups, online research projects, amateur
dramatic societies or self-help bicycle maintenance groups.

This kind of learning makes a big contribution to the health and well-being of
individuals, families and communities. Learning that starts off informally, or on a
small scale, may well lead to other things. Many people take up a new leisure
interest or start to learn a new skill in an informal way and then find that they can
use that skill to start their own business, move into a new career, support other
members of their family to learn or become active in their community.

All sorts of individuals and organisations help to provide and support informal
adult learning. Some people are paid, but many others are volunteers. Some
organisations are funded by the taxpayer, and many are not. Lots of local
voluntary organisations and community networks support the informal adult
learning you find across the country in libraries, museums, community centres,
unionlearn centres, universities, extended schools, children’s centres, colleges
and workplaces.

What is Informal adult Learning?
In March 2009, the Government published The Learning Revolution White Paper
on informal adult learning. (White Papers are policy papers issued by the
Government on a topic of national interest.) The White Paper described a new
joined-up vision for informal adult learning where central government
departments, local authorities and stakeholder organisations with many different
interests, including health, sport, culture, libraries, well-being, digital inclusion,

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community development, family support and the environment, work together so
that more people can benefit.

The Learning Revolution White Paper said:

‘Informal learning can at its best transform people's lives. Whether it's personal
fulfilment, keeping active and independent into old age, gaining increased
confidence or opening a door to further opportunities, informal learning
contributes hugely to the health and well-being of individuals and wider society.
Government fully recognises the vital contribution informal learning makes in
creating the kind of society we want to live in.’
                                        The Learning Revolution (DIUS, 2009) p.11

The Learning Revolution acknowledged that enthusiastic volunteers can
encourage other people in their community into learning. It recognised that
effective CLC schemes exist, but noted a frequent lack of strategic leadership.

‘… we want to do more to make sure that people who experience disadvantage
can benefit from informal learning. So we will introduce a new package of support
for community learning champions, learning ambassadors and other foot

Community learning champions and learning ambassadors are part of the vital
cadre of foot soldiers who can encourage peers, neighbours and friends to take
up learning.’
                                        The Learning Revolution (DIUS, 2009) p.29

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is therefore funding a
support programme for CLCs in 2009–11. A consortium – NIACE
(, Martin Yarnit Associates (,

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the Workers’ Educational Association ( and unionlearn – is delivering the support programme.

The CLC support programme has developed a series of resources to support
CLCs in their vital role of promoting the value of learning. Along with this toolkit
and one for CLCs, resources include:

      The Community Learning Champions website
       ( This is a source of expertise
       and good practice for CLCs and those who support them. It provides an
       opportunity to share ideas with others and provides news and information
       about regional events and networks. It hosts the toolkits, the CLC training
       programme and the register for CLC schemes and CLCs, case studies
       and other useful materials.

      The Community Learning Champions training programme: The training
       programme supports CLCs. It consists of the training framework, a set of
       training materials and the Learning Champion’s Journey workbook.

      The Community Learning Champions brand, registration scheme for
       schemes and CLCs, and badge for CLCs: The CLC brand raises the
       profile of the CLC approach. The branding guidelines are hosted on the
       CLC website (
       badge). A nationally recognised badge for CLCs promotes the role and is
       supported through a register of CLC schemes
       ( Registered CLCs
       receive a badge in recognition of the important role they perform. A secure
       database on the website generates a list of schemes.

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Who are CLCs?
CLCs are people who promote the value of learning to others in their community
– friends, relatives, neighbours, workmates or anyone else. CLCs share their
passion for learning.

From personal experience, CLCs speak about how learning can change a
person’s quality of life and job prospects. CLCs often live in the same community
or work in the same place as the people they want to involve in learning. Many
have the same life experiences as the people they talk to.

‘I’m really excited about what I’m doing. It’s great to be able to talk to people I
know in my area and tell them about all the different things they can do – I love
encouraging them to try learning, and the fact that I didn’t enjoy school and went
back to learning as an adult means that I know how difficult it sometimes is to
find the confidence as well as the information and to take that first step. It’s also
great to be given the training I’ve had and to be able to talk to providers about
what they could do to improve what is on offer.’

The people who promote learning in this way are sometimes called advocates,
mentors, ambassadors or even angels.

What do CLCs do?
‘We have done loads of things as learning champions – we did a survey of
people on our estate to find out the sorts of things they would want to learn and
then helped to design the leaflet that we used to get people along.’

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CLCs have proved that they can engage with people, especially those who think
that learning is not for them. CLCs can:
      provide an effective, impartial service to direct people to a wide variety of
       local learning;
      help learners to succeed;
      give learning providers feedback to improve what they offer.

A benefit for CLCs is that they can gain the skills, knowledge and experience to
go on to further or higher education, other volunteering opportunities or paid

‘Lots of the people living here don’t speak very good English, so even though
they are interested, they don’t think they can come along to the groups. They are
really isolated and I know some of them have got depressed. We help them by
going along to the group with them so that they feel comfortable and we can
answer their questions and support them.’

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If you decide to run a CLC scheme, you will need to consider a number of issues.
Based on the experience of early CLC schemes, this section gives you some
help with key decisions.

1.1   Identifying your partners and allies
1.2   Setting up a steering group
1.3   Agreeing the scheme’s aims and objectives
1.4   Deciding how you will organise your CLCs
1.5   Identifying key performance indicators and success criteria
1.6   Planning your budget
1.7   Producing your project plan

1.1   Identifying your partners and allies
Most CLC schemes work with a range of organisations and agencies. These may
include: housing associations; community development projects; information,
advice and guidance providers; Jobcentre Plus; children’s centres; local
residents’ associations; voluntary and community organisations; local colleges
and training providers; and the local authority adult and community learning

Choose partners that reflect your planned CLC scheme’s target group(s) and
who can help you recruit CLCs, deliver the scheme and find funding. A partner
may offer one or more CLCs a ‘base’ with access to a desk and phone; many
also provide individual support for the CLCs.

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   In the West Midlands, Groundwork and Orbit Heart of England (a registered
   social landlord) have formed a partnership. The partners have links to
   residents and groups within deprived neighbourhoods, social housing tenants
   and residents of sheltered accommodation.

   Together, the partners are identifying and supporting CLCs. The aim is that
   CLCs will broaden the number and range of people within the target groups in
   deprived neighbourhoods who access informal learning.

1.2    Setting up a steering group

A steering group can help you decide priorities. The steering group can then help
you run and sustain the scheme, making sure it stays on track and delivers what
it sets out to.

You may want to involve the following people in your steering group:
      Those who may:
       o benefit from knowledge gained by the CLC team,
       o offer outreach venues from which CLCs could operate,
       o offer some specific training;
      Potential future funders, including local employers and charities;
      Local influencers;
      Elected members;
      Libraries;
      Voluntary service council;
      UKonline centres;
      CLCs themselves;
      Potential learners and other people from your target groups.

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Your CLCs will have a vital role in helping to shape the scheme by reflecting the
experiences of the people they work with and by identifying gaps in provision and
appropriate ways of filling them.

Include a wide range of organisations in your steering group to:
      make sure that a variety of partners and stakeholders know about the CLC
       scheme and understand its value;
      help you to consider different views and needs when developing your
       scheme, and to embrace issues of equality and diversity.

Remember to try to make your meetings interesting and accessible for everyone,
particularly organisations that have little experience of steering groups.

Here is an example of one scheme’s terms of reference for its steering group.

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                       King’s Cross Community Learning Champions steering group
                                            TERMS OF REFERENCE
                                               Aims & objectives
The steering group aims to oversee the project objectives by ensuring that the project plan is adhered to both in
terms of outcome, quality and deadlines.
The group aims to improve the well-being of individuals in the King’s Cross community and increase access to
informal learning for adults across the Borough of Camden. The objective is to recruit 30 Community Learning
Champions who will individually promote access to learning to 30 individuals.
The CLC steering group operates under the policies and procedures of Onekx, as appropriate. Finances are
held by Onekx but the steering group is responsible for monitoring the budget. Onekx will administer the budget
and closely monitor and evaluate activities and progress against project milestones, via the project co-
ordinator. All major decisions regarding developing and execution of the project will be agreed with steering
group prior to actioning.
Onekx has given authority to the steering group to oversee and deliver the Community Learning Champions
scheme, giving guidance to the project co-ordinator as required, to support the achievement of set targets to
associated deadlines.
Terms of reference
The steering group’s terms of reference are:

         To provide information and support as necessary to the project co-ordinator;
         To approve expenditure in line with approved budget;
         To review progress to set project milestones, bi-weekly until 31st March 2010 and thereafter, monthly
         until project termination;
         To implement, in the event of an anticipated shortfall in project outcomes, remedial action;
         To monitor the quality of the provision keeping in line with ‘best practice’;
         The group's members are to ensure access to their organisations’ facilities as necessary;
         To maintain an awareness as to individual organisations strategic objectives and share information
         accordingly with regards to good practice;
         Community Learning Champions will be referred to as CLCs;
         To identify, on an ongoing basis, local learning opportunities and pass on to the project co-ordinator
         for dissemination to CLCs;
         To identify, potential Community Learning Champions;
         To offer support, in terms of their individual areas of expertise, to all tutors connected with learners
         recruited by the CLCs;
         To undertake any tasks agreed in order to achieve expected outcomes;
         To ensure sustainability and support for CLCs post March 2010.

Steering group members include representatives from the Camden Society, Holy Cross Centre, Community
Service Volunteers, the Mary Ward Centre, the project co-ordinator and two Community Learning Champions.

The CLCs will be invited to show expressions of interest and will be chosen based on agreed criteria from the
existing group.
The group will appoint one person as chair and a quorum will be five, once the two CLCs are appointed.

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1.3    Agreeing the scheme’s aims and objectives

To clarify the focus of your scheme, work with your steering group to agree your
scheme’s aims and objectives.

      The aim is a broad statement of the problem you want to solve or what
       you intend to achieve.

      The objectives set the realistic targets to achieve during the scheme.
       Objectives are derived from the aim, but are more specific and

Aims and objectives should be appropriate for the funding available. You will also
want to consider your own and your partners’ organisational priorities.

Many schemes focus on CLCs working with potential learners in deprived areas,
or with particular communities or groups. It may help you to write down, in 250
words or fewer, your main aim and key objectives, or a summary of what you
hope to achieve by the end of the first year.

The following example of a summary is from the Hull CLC scheme. You can see
more summaries on the Community Learning Champions website

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The My Hull Champions project will run alongside the showcase My Hull project funded by the
Learning Revolution Transformation Fund. The My Hull Champions project will recruit 30–40
volunteers as Learning Champions, commencing in January 2010, to work alongside a wide range
of existing partners.

The role of the Learning Champions will be to act as role models to promote the benefits of informal
adult learning to their communities and encourage more adults to participate. We will work with our
partner organisations to recruit Learning Champions to work in a wide range of settings to promote
the value of adult learning and to signpost adults to the wealth of informal adult learning
opportunities available across the city. Areas already identified for placement of Learning
Champions include the Hull city centre jobshop, museums, libraries, extended schools services, the
new local history centre due to open in January 2010, together with a wide range of voluntary and
community groups.

The benefits for both adult learners and the volunteers themselves will be exposure to different
types of learning, choice of learning activities and venues, which in turn will impact positively on
wider social agendas such as community engagement and cohesion, improved mental health,
better employment prospects and learners themselves will have a voice to influence the type of
learning provision with which they would like to engage. Learning Champions will gain experience in
volunteering and mentoring, and will be supported through a recognised training scheme, local
support network and become part of the national Learning Champions register.

1.4. Deciding how you will organise your CLCs

How you manage your scheme and organise your CLCs will depend on a
number of factors such as:
       the size of the area you plan to work in;
       whether you are working in a rural or urban area;
       whether you aim to focus on a particular target group, for example black or
        minority ethnic women or army families, or to focus more broadly;
       the partners you aim to work with;
       the amount of available funding.

Existing schemes employ one or more members of staff to co-ordinate CLCs.
The schemes organise CLCs in one of the following three ways:

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   As a team of CLCs:

   As a team of CLCs who are supported by either:
    o mentors, who may have paid roles in, for example, libraries, children’s
       centres, adult community learning services, further education colleges
       and other providers,
    o senior CLCs who support the work of smaller teams of CLCs;

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   With central co-ordination from an organisation that holds a contract and
    the funding to deliver a CLC scheme, and that works with smaller
    organisations who recruit and support CLCs:

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Case studies of schemes on the Community Learning Champions website
( describe the different management
models they used. These case studies may give you ideas to help you develop
your own approach.

Here is an example of a partnership agreement that one scheme used with a
range of partners.

                                   Partnership agreement

                              Community Learning Champions

1.    This agreement is made between

              (Name and address of accountable partner)
                                         The accountable partner

            (Name and address of delivery partner)
                                               The delivery partner
2.    Purpose of agreement

      The aim or purpose of this agreement is to make provision for the services more particularly
      set out in Schedule 1 to be provided by the delivery partner in accordance with the terms and
      conditions of this agreement in consideration of which the accountable partner will pay to the
      delivery partner the payments set out in Schedule 2.

      The delivery partner will cooperate with the accountable partner to ensure that the services
      are delivered as specified in the Funding Agreement for the period ending March 31 st 2010
      between the accountable partner and NIACE (the funding agreement).

3.    Term of agreement

      This agreement shall commence on the date on which the provision of services under the
      funding agreement commence and finish on the date on which the services provided under
      the funding agreement finish and shall terminate in the circumstances outlined in Clause 8
      of this agreement.

4.    Management of this agreement

      For better management of this agreement:

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4.1     The accountable partner will appoint a project manager and the delivery partner will
        appoint a project liaison officer.
4.2     The project manager and the project liaison officer will liaise on behalf of the accountable
        partner and the delivery partner respectively as regards the performance of the services by
        the delivery partner.
4.3     The project manager will be (name) and the project liaison officer will be (name) or such
        other person as the accountable partner or the delivery partner, as the case may be, may
        in the future notify to the other.
4.3.1   The delivery partners in Sussex Community Learning Champions are: (names of all
        delivery partners).

5.      Payment

       In consideration of the delivery partner providing the services set out in Schedule 1 in
        accordance with the terms and conditions of this agreement, the accountable partner will pay
        the delivery partner the payments set out in Schedule 2.

5.2.1   In the event of any deductions, deferments or recovery made by NIACE from the accountable
        partner, this will be referred to the Sussex Community Learning Champions steering group
        (the steering group) for final decision on how this will affect payments to the delivery partner.

5.2.2   Where the payment made by the accountable partner to the delivery partner is greater than
        the amount required by the delivery partner to provide the services, the excess will be
        returned to the accountable partner, who will seek agreement from NIACE as to how the
        excess will be used, in consultation with the steering group.

6.      Monitoring arrangements

6.1     The delivery partner should keep appropriate records in order to comply with the
        requirements of NIACE, as stated in the funding agreement.

6.2     The delivery partner will be monitored against the tasks and minimum performance targets
        identified in Schedule 1.

6.3     The project liaison officer and project manager shall meet monthly to share information
        and review progress.

7.      Force majeure

7.1     Neither party will be in default of its obligations under this funding agreement or liable to the
        other to the extent that it is unable to perform all or any of its obligations under this funding
        agreement because of the occurrence of a force majeure event.
7.2     If either party seeks to rely on this Clause 7 it must: -
a)      immediately give a notice to the other providing details of the act or matter that it claims has
        put performance beyond its control;

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b)      use all reasonable endeavours to minimise the effect of the force majeure event on its
        performance; and
c)      immediately after the end of the force majeure event, notify the other party that it has ended
        and resume full performance.
7.3     It is expressly agreed that a failure by either party to perform or delay by either party in
        performing its obligations under this funding agreement which results from a failure or delay in
        performing its obligations by a person, firm or company with which the party had entered into
        any funding agreement, supply arrangement or sub-funding agreement or otherwise will be
        regarded as a failure or delay due to a force majeure event only if the person, firm or company
        is itself prevent from or delayed in performing those obligations because of a force majeure
7.4     If the Party giving notice is the delivery partner and the force majeure event continues for
        more than three Months from the giving of the notice under Clause 7.2. The accountable
        partner may terminate this funding agreement with immediate effect by notice in writing at any
7.5     During the period of occurrence of a force majeure event, the accountable partner must
        comply with its payment obligations under Clause 8 and Schedule 2 only to the extent that the
        delivery partner continues to provide the services during that period.

8.      Termination
This agreement may be terminated by either party at any time if the other party is in breach of
the performance of the funding agreement or any required conditions. The party seeking
termination shall inform the other party in writing, and termination shall be effective on giving
one month’s notice. In that case, the delivery partner’s outstanding costs up to the date of
termination will be paid on receipt of the relevant invoice/claim with immediate effect, on
provision that the delivery partner has complied with its obligations under Schedule 1.

9.       Variation
The terms of this Agreement may be varied only by the written agreement of the accountable
partner. If any change of use is effected without seeking the consent of the accountable partner,
the agreement may be terminated and Clause 8 will be implemented. In that case, the delivery
partner will reimburse the accountable partner any monies paid to the delivery partner which
were not used for the purposes outlined in this agreement.

10.      Legal duties
The delivery partner shall comply with any legal obligations that may be relevant in order to carry
out the project, such as planning, licensing, employment, health and safety, insurance and equal
opportunities legislation.

11.      Equal opportunities
The accountable partner is committed to equal opportunities both in the provision of services and
as an employer. Without prejudice to any specific requirement in this agreement, and save where
the delivery partner serves one or more particular sections of the community, the delivery partner
shall ensure that it promotes equality of opportunity to all sections of the community in its service

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delivery, its internal employment and management practices and in its dealings with any partners
or Funders.

12.     Health and safety
The accountable partner is committed to health and safety both as a learning provider and as an
employer. The delivery partner shall ensure that it follows as a minimum the accountable partner’s
policy and procedures for health and safety and that learning takes place in safe, healthy and
supportive environments which meet the needs of learners and meet the terms of Clause 3 of the
funding agreement.

13.     Protection of children and vulnerable adults
The Accountable Partner is committed to the protection of children and vulnerable adults. The
Delivery Partner shall ensure that it follows as a minimum the Accountable Partner policies and
procedures for child protection and the protection of vulnerable adults.

14.      Dispute
Any dispute between the accountable partner and the delivery partner that cannot be settled locally
will be referred to the steering group.

You need to decide whether to pay your CLCs. Often this depends on the
funding available to your CLC scheme. Different approaches include:

       Volunteer CLCs: All CLCs are volunteers, contributing from as few as two
        hours up to two days per week. Some CLCs volunteer on a regular basis,
        and some opt in only when they are able. In most cases, volunteers are
        paid their expenses.

       Paid CLCs: CLCs are paid to work a set number of hours, usually two or
        three days a week.

       A mixture of paid and volunteer CLCs: In some cases, a few CLCs are in
        paid roles, often to support volunteers. In other cases, CLCs are paid for
        specific work, for example mentoring support.

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Consider the impact of any pay and expenses on the benefits that some CLCs
may claim. See the information on volunteering while on benefits on the
Directgov website at

1.5    Identifying key performance indicators and success criteria

You will need to monitor and evaluate your scheme. You can then show the
funders of your CLC scheme whether it continues to meet their criteria for
funding. The information you collect will also show you how well the CLC scheme
is doing – specifically, what your scheme is achieving, and areas for
improvement. See Section 3.3, Monitoring and evaluation.

Identify early on how you will monitor and evaluate your CLC scheme. If you
monitor your scheme from the start, you can collect the right information and
evidence as you go along.

You should also identify some key performance indicators and success criteria
that will be interesting and helpful to partners and stakeholders. For example,
you could report regularly on: the number of people that CLCs have spoken to,
and in which areas; the number of learners enrolled by CLCs; the number of
different groups that CLCs have worked with.

You could also collect some ‘soft’ (qualitative) information that illustrates just
what the scheme is achieving – for example, success stories, with learners’ own
descriptions of how their lives have changed for the better.

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National quality framework for CLC schemes
The CLC support programme developed and trialled a light-touch quality
framework for CLC schemes. The draft framework consists of performance
indicators that relate to a set reporting period. You may like to consider whether
the performance indicators would fit your scheme. They are:

      Performance indicator 1: Number of CLCs registered by the scheme.

      Performance indicator 2: Total number of hours of activity by the scheme’s

      Performance indicator 3: Number of people reached and supported by

      Performance indicator 4: Progression of CLCs.

CLC schemes have also gathered qualitative information as case studies.

The framework:
      supports schemes’ self-assessment and quality-improvement activities;
      facilitates data sharing between schemes;
      improves awareness locally, regionally and nationally of the impact of

1.6    Planning your budget

Having decided your aims and objectives and identified a management structure,
you now need to think about your budget. Consider the funding you have

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available and what your funders want you to achieve. Then work out what you
can afford to do.

You can use the checklist below to see what to include in your costings.

Item                                                            Estimated cost
Paid staff (include costs such as National Insurance and
pension contributions in calculation, and include recruitment
costs if you have to appoint someone to run the scheme)
Management time to support paid staff and run steering group
meetings, etc
Criminal Records Bureau checks (if volunteers will be working
with vulnerable adults or young people)
Travel and expenses for paid staff
Advertising to recruit volunteers
Translation costs (recruitment and promotion of scheme)
Hire of rooms for selection process
Training for volunteers
Travel and subsistence for volunteers
Subscriptions, e.g. access to broadband for volunteers
Capital items, e.g. laptops and desks
Promotion of scheme, e.g. leaflets, flyers and ads in papers
Room hire
Funding to supply provision when a gap is identified (some
schemes have a small pot of funding so that they can respond
quickly to a particular need for learning)
Information resources for volunteers, e.g. paying for someone
to collate up-to-date information on local provision
Consumables, stamps, pens, stationery

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Item                                                              Estimated cost
Evaluation of scheme – consider costs for possible
independent evaluation of impact and effectiveness of
scheme (see Section 3, Taking the scheme forward)

1.7    Producing your project plan

By now you should be ready to create a project plan. The plan shows how you
will deliver your scheme’s aims and objectives, which you have agreed with your
funders and steering group.

Your organisation may use a project management system such as Prince2 to
help plan projects.

This toolkit does not give a full guide to project planning. However, consider the
following questions:

      Why? What problem does the scheme aim to address? Why is the
       scheme being funded or supported?

      What? What work will be performed during the scheme? What are the
       main outputs the scheme will produce, e.g. plans, websites, final reports?
       What resources are needed to make the scheme work?

      Who? Who will be involved and what will be their responsibilities? How will
       they be organised? Who are the key partners and stakeholders?

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      When? What is the project timeline and when are the milestones (points at
       which key events occur)?

Are your objectives SMART?

      Specific: Do the objectives clearly state what the scheme will achieve?

      Measurable: Can you quantify results and will you be able to show that
       they have been achieved?

      Achievable: Are you sure that the objectives can be achieved?

      Realistic: Can the scheme meet the objectives with the resources

      Timed: Can the scheme meet the objectives within a set timescale?

Here is an extract from a project plan. There are more examples of project plans
on the Community Learning Champions website at

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Objective       How will this be           What will the evidence be                 By when      Actual
To develop a    Small subgroup of          Recruitment plan, job description and     April 2010   April 2010
recruitment     steering group to          marketing material agreed with steering
plan and        develop and agree with     group
materials for   the steering group

To recruit 15   Work in partnership with   15 CLCs have received induction session   June 2010    July 2010
CLCs in the     xxx and xxx to develop     and are signed up
xxx area of     promotional materials
the city

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2.1    Getting your staff co-ordinator in place
2.2    Recruiting your CLCs
2.3    Inducting and training your CLCs
2.4    Providing local information for your CLCs
2.5    Registering your scheme and the CLCs
2.6    Providing ongoing support for your CLCs

2.1    Getting your staff co-ordinator in place
All staff, paid or voluntary, need to be well managed and supported. They need
their questions answered, their work reviewed, to keep in touch with other CLCs
and learn about good practice.

Depending on the funding available, some schemes are able to employ a full-
time co-ordinator or a support or development worker to manage staff. Other
schemes employ a co-ordinator part time, and some schemes integrate the role
into existing jobs.

Whichever model you choose, think what activities you want the co-ordinator to
carry out and then produce a job description. Here are some of the activities you
may want to include.

Activity                                                           Done?
Production of publicity materials
Presenting the scheme in a variety of settings and press liaison
Recruitment of CLCs
Induction of CLCs

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Activity                                                           Done?
Ongoing support, and identification of CLCs’ learning and
development needs
Organising training, including venues, childcare and transport
Setting up and maintaining administrative systems and record
Helping CLCs with record keeping
Liaising with learning providers
Ensuring that the necessary policies and procedures are in
place (e.g. health and safety, Criminal Records Bureau checks,
equality and diversity policies, complaints procedures) and
administering them
Supporting CLCs’ progression
Organising celebration events
Running support meetings for CLCs and/or arranging other
forms of communication, e.g. website, email group, text
messages, online social networking page.
Finding out about local learning provision and communicating
this in an appropriate form to CLCs

Your organisation will probably have its own staff recruitment and selection

2.2    Recruiting your CLCs

‘Being a learning champion means that I do lots of things I’ve never done before,
so I am learning new things all the time. When I was asked if I would help run a
family learning event, I was really scared – I had never done anything like that

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before and I was scared about standing up and speaking to others. But I did it
and I felt really pleased with myself.’

Choosing CLCs who are enthusiastic about learning and passionate about
involving others is key to the success of your scheme. It is worth taking time to
get this right.

This checklist helps you consider the activities that CLCs may do. Give each
activity a priority from 1 to 8.

Activity                                                                     Priority
Encourage people into learning
Target specific groups, e.g. long-term unemployed and older learners
Help people to succeed in their learning
Identify gaps in learning opportunities
Set up new learning opportunities
Feed back on existing provision to improve it
Provide and/or support signposting as part of an information, advice
and guidance or marketing function
Build capacity in the community

Prioritising these activities will also help you with job descriptions, recruitment
and interviewing for your CLC team.

Job descriptions and person specifications
Drafting a job (role) description and person specification will help you identify
what skills, experience and background you want your CLCs to have. It will also
tell potential CLCs what they are letting themselves in for.

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The job descriptions and person specifications do not have to be long or too
formal, but they do need to cover the following:
      Role/activities;
      Skills and experience required;
      Time commitment (including meetings);
      Training offered;
      Reporting arrangements;
      Expenses that CLCs can claim, e.g. travel, phone and internet.

Remember to make your job description and person specification appropriate for
any specific groups you want to recruit. For example, if you want to work with
Spanish older women with no English and want a CLC from this group, then you
will probably need to translate the job description.

As an alternative to a written job description, you may want to talk through a job
description with potential recruits. (See Selecting your CLCs, below.)

Here is an example of a job description for a volunteer CLC.

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Job or role description for a volunteer Community Learning Champion (CLC)

The main areas of your role are to:
     encourage other adults to take up learning for leisure or to update their skills;
     meet potential learners and give them information and support about learning;
     help publicise learning in your area;
     help learners to find learning opportunities which suit them by signposting, making phone
        calls or accessing information from the internet;
     go with learners to a learning venue, assist in the enrolment process.
To do this well you will need to:
     be really enthusiastic about learning;
     report to the project development worker on a regular basis;
     attend CLC team meetings;
     take part in training as required;
     attend local events, as your availability dictates;
     keep yourself up-to-date about local education and training opportunities;
     keep your own records;
     make sure that you stay safe and are aware of the health and safety policy;
     understand and work to support the equal opportunities policy.
The sorts of skills you are likely to have:
     good communication and listening skills – like talking to people from all walks of life;
        including those with additional needs;
     an interest and enthusiasm for learning;
     be willing to learn yourself;
     be a good encourager.
To support you we will:
     provide you with a full induction and encourage you to attend an accredited training course;
     arrange regular meetings to receive support from the project development worker and other
     offer you travel expenses and reasonable out of pocket expenses;
     cover you while you are volunteering for us under our comprehensive public and employer’s
        liability insurance.

The project operates a policy of conducting a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure process with any
volunteers who are working directly with vulnerable adults or children. As a CLC, this may not arise,
but the project reserves the right to undertake these checks if and when they are appropriate.

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Reaching prospective CLCs
The most effective CLCs often live and work in the community or group you are
trying to target. They also speak from personal experience about the difference
learning has made to their lives and prospects.

Here are some examples of where you may find potential CLCs:
      Among past or current enthusiastic learners (often a good source);
      Through past CLCs who recruit others;
      Among your strategic partners (see Section 1.1, Identifying your partners
       and allies);
      Local organisations including libraries, UKonline centres, unionlearn
       centres and voluntary service councils;
      Among the local groups that can give you access to your target CLCs (e.g.
       if you want to work with Yemeni men, you would want to identify local
       groups that could gain access to potential recruits);
      Via family learning activity;
      At open days and taster sessions;
      At Adult Learners’ Week events;
      At volunteer bureaux.

Once you have completed your job description and person specification, use the
above list to prioritise where to circulate information about CLC opportunities.

Preparing your publicity
Word of mouth is often the most effective way of getting the message out. CLCs
are great recruiters, and people who have enjoyed a new learning experience
may consider becoming CLCs.

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‘I love the idea that what I am doing as a learning champion makes a difference –
it was a learning champion that helped me to get into learning and I’m passing
that on by becoming one myself.’

You will also probably need to produce posters, flyers or leaflets. Consider the
literacy and language levels of intended readers. See the media toolkit on the
Community Learning Champions website
( for tips and ideas on
marketing and promotion.

Using the national CLC brand is one way of raising the profile of your scheme.
(Branding guidelines are available on the Community Learning Champions
website, at You
can use the CLC brand alongside any local brand you develop.

Here is an example of a poster from the Limehouse project.

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Think about the timing when you try to recruit volunteers: it can be difficult to
recruit effectively during August and other key holiday periods. Holiday play
schemes, for example, can be a good way of reaching parents, however.

Becoming a CLC can be a great opportunity. Many CLCs go on to paid jobs in
education and other sectors, working as learning mentors, classroom assistants

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and health trainers. Many also go on to take degrees and gain other
qualifications. Remember to stress this when you look for recruits.

You can use the video ‘The Estate Where Learning is Cool: Broxtowe,
Nottingham’ on the Community Learning Champions website at to demonstrate
the benefits to potential volunteers.

Selecting your CLCs
You will need to organise some form of selection process once you have
publicised the role and the opportunities. You need to choose the right people,
and potential applicants need to make an informed choice about the opportunity
you are offering.

Application process
A tried and tested way of recruiting and selecting good CLCs is to invite people to
an information day or session. During the event, you can tell people about the

Decide whether you want people to fill in an application form before or at the
information session, or one to one.

Here is an example of an application form.

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Community Learning Champion (CLC)
Application form

1. Name

2. Address

3. Contact details:

4. What do you do?

5. Why would you like to become a CLC?

6. What do you hope to achieve as a CLC?

7. How will being a CLC benefit you?

8. How will you benefit your local community?

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Note: To comply with data protection legislation, you must collect on a separate
form information about date of birth, ethnicity, disability or gender. For
information about the Data Protection Act, see

Interviewing your CLCs
You can follow an information session with a one-to-one interview. One-to-one
interviews are less daunting than panel interviews.

You will need to decide who will interview potential CLCs and how interviews will
be moderated.

The one-to-one interview should focus on the person’s suitability for the role of
CLC. Use the job description and person specification to explore this. The
interview is also an opportunity for applicants to consider whether the role will
suit them.

Don’t forget to make notes after the interview, to help you give feedback to

Use open questions if possible. Avoid closed questions such as ‘Do you like
meeting people?’ (Is anyone likely to say no?) Here are some examples of good
interview questions:
      Why would you like to be a CLC?
      Why do you think people like CLCs are needed?
      What experience could you bring to the role?
      What might you gain from the role?
      What training might you need?

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Remember also to ask applicants how much time they can give: how many hours
a week, and for how many weeks a year.

After the interviews, you may find you have more people interested than places
available. When you decide who to select, consider the team as a whole: you
may want to check that your CLCs reflect the community (or communities) you
plan to work with and meet your aims and objectives (see Section 1.3, Agreeing
the scheme’s aims and objectives, above).

You need to decide how you will tell people that they are not right for your
scheme. You can use the job description and person specification to explain the
selection criteria.

It is good practice to have information available on other opportunities that may
be available locally for people who are not suitable for the CLC role.

2.3    Inducting and training your CLCs

Once you have recruited and selected your CLCs, you will need to induct them.
The induction process helps give new recruits an overview of their role and the
organisation they are joining.

An induction often focuses on practicalities such as:
      values and principles (see Section 2.5, Registering your scheme and the
       CLCs, below, for details);
      the role, and what CLCs can and can’t do;
      ground rules for engaging with learners;
      where to go for information;
      key acronyms;

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      who to report to, how and how often;
      targets;
      paperwork/forms to complete, and to whom and when they need to be
      support, including training;
      team meetings;
      what CLCs should do if they can’t attend a session;
      key contacts within the organisation;
      how to claim expenses and what is included;
      Criminal Records Bureau checks – what they are and why they are done;
      health and safety rules, including lone working (some schemes provide
       CLCs with business cards, including a photo);
      relevant policies and values of the organisation, e.g. confidentiality,
       equality and diversity, and safeguarding policies.

Induction programme
The induction will complement your training plan. Here is an example of an
induction programme. You may deliver the induction over one day, over two or
three half-day sessions, or over a longer period, depending on the availability of
the CLCs.

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Volunteer induction programme

Getting started
    What has interested CLCs in the role.
    The background: what does it mean to be a CLC? Values and principles.
    The national context.
    The local scheme, how it has developed and the organisation(s) that are leading it.
    The role of a CLC in the local context. (Schemes may have particular target groups or
        geographic areas to work in.)

(Where possible, new CLCs should be given the opportunity to meet existing CLCs to hear
their stories.)

Important information
    Policies, procedures and guidelines, including payment of expenses, health and
       safety, equal opportunities, dealing with complaints and problem solving.
    What support CLCs can expect from their scheme.
    The responsibilities of being a CLC, such as attending monthly meetings, sharing
       information, confidentiality, gathering information and keeping records, and how to
       pass on information about community learning needs.
    How the scheme will keep in touch with CLCs. (The scheme may have ideas, but the
       CLCs may have others, e.g. to set up an online social networking page.)
    How to register as a national CLC.
    What training is available and how CLCs can access it.

Starting the role
     How to put newly gained knowledge into practice.
     Keeping safe.
     Tips and ideas for getting to know the local community, supporting other learners and
        promoting the benefits of informal adult learning.

Codes of conduct, and volunteering contracts
Some schemes have produced a code of conduct for CLCs, setting out what is
expected. See the following example.

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Community Learning Champions

1.   Be professional and introduce yourself properly.

2.   Always be polite and respect each other.

3.   Be confident in talking to members of the public.

4.   Make sure you understand what you are doing. Be competent and well
     prepared. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information if you need it.

5.   Communicate clearly and use simple language.

6.   Ensure anonymity and confidentiality for everyone.

7.   Don’t put yourself or other CLCs in danger

8.   Look presentable and respectable and be yourself.

9.   Show genuine interest; use appropriate body language and listening skills.

10. Respect all attitudes and opinions.

Other CLC schemes have devised an employment or volunteering contract. The
contract sets out clearly what the scheme expects of CLCs and what it will do for
them. Here is an example.

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Community Learning Champions – Volunteering Contract
CLCs are an important and valued part of our work and we hope that you enjoy
volunteering with us and feel a full part of our team. This agreement tells you
what you can expect from us and what we hope from you. We aim to be flexible,
so please let us know if you would like to make any changes, and we will do our

We will do our best to:
       Introduce you to how the organisation works and your role in it and to
        provide any training your need to do your role well;
       Provide regular meetings with your co-ordinator so that you can tell us if
        you are happy with how your work is organised and get feedback from us;
       Respect your skills, dignity and individual wishes and do our best to meet
       Pay your travel and meal costs up to our current maximum;
       Consult with you and keep you informed of possible changes;
       Provide a safe workplace;
       Apply our equal opportunities policy;
       Apply our complaints procedure if there is any problem.

I ………………………………………………………agree to do my best to:
Work reliably to the best of my ability and to give as much warning as possible
whenever I cannot work when expected
Follow the rules and procedures, including health and safety and equal
opportunities and confidentiality.

Note: This agreement is in honour only and is not intended to be a legally binding
contract of employment.

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Signed              ……………………………………………………………CLC
Signed …………                   …………………………………….CLC co-ordinator)

Induction pack
It is a good idea to prepare an induction pack that CLCs can take away and use
for reference.

Training equips CLCs for their role. It also forms part of the ongoing support
CLCs need to improve their skills and the service they offer. Your role is to
provide information about the local learning context in which your CLCs will
operate. Along with this you may want to offer CLCs the opportunity to take part
in the national training developed as part of the CLC support programme.

Your organisation may be approved to deliver an accredited course and have
staff qualified and experienced to deliver it, in which case you can download the
training package from the Community Learning Champions website
( You can customise the materials:
you can brand them with your logo and add materials for your local area.

Alternatively you can approach a learning provider such as the Workers’
Educational Association, which may be able to deliver training for you. You can
discuss with the learning provider how to shape the course to the local context
and learning needs of your CLCs.

It is good practice to discuss training needs with each person. CLCs in particular
roles or with specific skills gaps may need extra training and support. For
example, a CLC working with people with learning disabilities may need

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additional training. And some CLCs may need training to use the internet to
search for information.

2.4    Providing local information for your CLCs

Alongside the formal training programme, you need to provide information for
your CLCs about their local context. This will include information about local
learning providers, information, advice and guidance services, websites,
premises, and other networks and partner organisations. This is something your
CLCs will be able to contribute to as they become more aware of local
opportunities and networks. The diagram below shows how one project gathered
information about learning in its area.

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CLCs also need to know what referral arrangements you have with stakeholder
organisations and other local services.

CLCs often meet and want to help people who take part in informal learning
clubs or groups. Examples of ‘self-organised learning’ groups, societies or clubs
(which are not funded directly by the public purse) include gardening clubs,
community choirs, reading circles, University of the Third Age groups,
bereavement support groups, and knitting circles.

There is help and advice on the Learning Clubs and Groups website at for people who are thinking of setting up a self-
organised club or group.

Learning clubs need somewhere to meet. A resource which CLCs may find
helpful is the document Making space for learning: How you can make it happen,
which provides useful advice and information can be downloaded at

The School of Everything website has a growing list of venues, including some
with free or low-cost open spaces available for clubs, groups, societies and other
self-organised learning groups. You can search for venues in a particular place.
The School of Everything also has a list of teachers of many different subjects
and skills, and signposts other useful resources (including films), information
about events and classes, and links to other websites.

Don’t forget to refer your CLCs to the Community Learning Champions’ Toolkit
on the website ( The toolkit provides
a wealth of information to help CLCs in their role.

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2.5    Registering your scheme and the CLCs

Once your CLCs are in place, register your scheme and the CLCs on the national
register of Community Learning Champions

By registering your CLC scheme, you receive national recognition of your
valuable work in supporting volunteer CLCs. Through regional and national CLC
networks, you can share experiences and gain ideas and support (as can the
CLCs themselves). Your organisation will also receive a welcome pack,
invitations to regional and national events, and the opportunity to nominate
people for Adult Learners’ Week awards.

For CLCs, the benefits of registration include:
      membership of a national movement of CLCs;
      a badge that shows the importance of the role;
      a welcome pack of information, plus a branded bag and folder and pen;
      access to an online community of CLCs with whom they can share
       experiences and ideas;
      membership of regional and national networks;
      invitations to events.

To register, CLCs need to sign the following declaration, agreeing to the values
and principles of being a CLC. You can find the declaration on the Community
Learning Champions website

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Registered Community Learning Champions Declaration of Values and
Community Learning Champions value lifelong learning for:
      its potential to benefit people emotionally, physically, intellectually, socially
       and economically;
      its contribution to the health and well-being of communities.

Community Learning Champions uphold the following principles:
      Community Learning Champions are committed to equality, diversity and
       inclusion in relation to learners and the community.
      Community Learning Champions are impartial. They give information and
       advice to meet the needs and interests of the learner, and not providers or
       other organisations.
      Community Learning Champions respect confidentiality. They will not pass
       on personal information without the learner’s prior permission.
      Community Learning Champions are committed to improving the quality of
       their practice. They take part in training and development and ongoing
       reflection and evaluation of their own practice.

2.6    Providing ongoing support for your CLCs

Providing support for CLCs may be the most important activity of a CLC scheme.
Even before CLCs are recruited and enrolled, they may need practical help with
childcare or transport, or moral support to help them decide whether to take on
the role. Later in the process, support can include contacting CLCs who did not
attend, helping them complete their work for accreditation and organising
additional training.

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Good training courses also build effective and supportive groups, so that CLCs
can help each other.

Supporting CLCs, especially when they are widely spread or have few hours
available, can be a challenge. Schemes have found different ways of supporting
their CLCs. These include the following:

      Fortnightly or monthly meetings for CLCs to keep them up to date with
       local learning provision and plan events to promote learning in their local

      Email updates;

      Online blogs (see for an example);

      Small groups meeting to co-ordinate work in a geographic area. Peer
       mentoring or ‘buddy’ schemes are good ways of providing support. You
       can put people into pairs (‘buddies’) or identify a more experienced CLC to
       provide help and information to a new recruit.

You can also encourage CLCs to take part in their regional network. You can find
information on the Community Learning Champions website

Review process
Volunteers need regular reviews of their work and access to continuous
professional development, in the same way as do paid staff.

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Consider how you will put in place an efficient and effective review process for
your CLCs. Allow plenty of time to support your team, because you may have
many volunteers, each working far fewer hours than paid staff.

Consider what to do if a CLC is not performing as required. When you discuss
specific issues with a CLC, you can refer to the values and principles document
(see Section 2.5, Registering your scheme and the CLCs, above) and/or a
volunteering contract or code of conduct. CLCs need to know the scheme’s
complaints procedures – these also highlight what the scheme expects from

Also discuss what ‘next steps’ CLCs may take (see Progression below).

The chance to learn new skills and progress to further learning or to paid work is
a key benefit for volunteers. Think how you can help your CLCs progress to
further learning – schemes may offer free or cheap access to relevant courses on
topics such as ICT, information, advice and guidance, or mentoring skills – or to

Here are some ways to support your CLCs:

       Collect information (which will also help them in their role as CLCs) about
        local access courses and other courses and qualifications available

       Identify and circulate regular information about job opportunities (you can
        use your steering group to help identify job opportunities).

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      Through your support systems, help CLCs gain and record evidence of
       new skills and experience. CLCs can use this information in a CV when
       looking for work.

      As part of your support package, discuss ‘next steps’ in your review
       process (see Review process above).

      Tell your steering group about all the transferable skills CLCs have
       gained. There may be opportunities for CLCs to move on to other job
       roles, e.g. health trainers, parent link workers, teaching assistants and
       family support advisers.

Celebrating your CLCs’ activity
Celebrating the achievements of your CLCs at award ceremonies and events is
one way to show that you appreciate them. Some schemes put on events to
award training certificates, others organise activities for CLCs during Adult
Learners’ Week. You could organise an event to present the CLC badges and
welcome packs that CLCs receive when they register (see Section 2.5,
Registering your scheme and the CLCs, above).

Events that showcase CLCs’ work raise the profile of your scheme among
funders, stakeholders, local politicians, and the press and media. Politicians are
often keen to meet local people with good stories to tell – and most CLCs have
excellent stories to share.

Celebrating the achievements of CLCs who move into further training or work is
also important. This shows potential CLCs the value of volunteering as a CLC
and demonstrates to partners and potential funders how the role can support
people’s progression.

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If you use stories of real people, particularly photographs or videos, remember to
gain signed permission. Here is an example permission form.

Media and Information Sharing – Permission Form: Photographs and Videos

[Name of CLC scheme] aims to encourage adults to get involved in learning of all kinds. Using
images of you in our work is a great way to encourage adults to give learning a go.

I give consent to the use of images of myself / the individual I represent (delete as applicable),
taken by [Name of CLC scheme] or by agents authorised on behalf of [Name of CLC scheme], in
all publicity work. I understand that the photographs may be used in print, electronic and online
material by [Name of CLC scheme] as well as its partners and funders.

I understand that I do not own the copyright of the images, and I release [Name of CLC scheme]
and its agents, representatives, and assignees from any and all claims and demands arising out of
or in connection with the use of the images. I agree that the photographs taken of me can be used
for any advertising purposes or for the purposes of illustrating any wording, and agree that no such
wording shall be considered to be attributed to me personally unless my name is used. I
understand that the images may be altered and I waive the right to approve of any finished product.

Contact information

I understand that my contact details will be included in press releases – unless I supply an
alternative press contact – and may be shared with other projects as appropriate and used in any
publicity or marketing activities as [Name of CLC scheme] deems to be appropriate. This may take
the form of, but is not limited to, information being included on websites, in emails and in printed

I have read this permission form carefully and fully understand its meanings and implications.

Signed: ___________________________________________

Name (print): _______________________________________

Date: _____________________________________________

‘The learners I support are amazed when I tell them that it’s only a year ago I
was in their shoes, and if I can do it, so can they.’

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You can find useful information on marketing, communications and fundraising in
the voluntary and community sector on the National Council for Voluntary
Organisations’ Marketing and Fundraising Group’s website at www.ncvo- and on the CLC website at

‘You can really see the changes in them as they move into the role. They
increase in confidence and realise that the have skills they never thought they
had. The training plays an important role in this. For many, it’s the first
qualification they have got, and it’s an encouragement for them to go on to
further learning. Many have started doing the CLC training and then have moved
on to the foundation-tier qualification for Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong
Learning Sector (PTLLs). Some Learning Champions have gone on to the
diploma and to specialise in ESOL or literacy and numeracy.’
                                                               CLC scheme manager
The Community Learning Champions website
( has case studies and videos
showing the benefits of being a CLC.

Here is an example of one person’s CLC journey and its benefits.

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Learning champions changed my life
                                  Taken out of school at 12, becoming a learning
                                  champion was Vivien Hindley’s stepping stone to
                                  Vivien Hindley, aged 43 from Chester, is off to
                                  university next year. What’s special about that, you ask?
                                  A lot because Vivien’s schooling effectively ended at
                                  12, when she became her little brother’s carer. After a
                                  brief spell in a remedial unit, where she was labelled
                                  unteachable, the next step was a job and then an early

                                   Twenty odd years later, after a series of jobs in shops
                                   and with four small children, her marriage broke down.
                                   As often, the misfortune was also a catalyst. A close
                                   friend, who was a learning champion, encouraged her to
think about taking up learning. ‘But I wasn’t in the right frame of mind and besides, I told
her, I’m really thick,’ says Vivien.

Anyway, her friend persisted and took her to a taster session at her daughters’ school. ‘I
met Chris Meacock, a lovely lady, from West Cheshire College, who was very
approachable and supportive. She said that lots of mums had done very well despite
missing school.’

Two years ago she enrolled on an English course, then a maths course and a listening
skills course, and that led on to training to become a learning champion in 2009 at Burton
Manor, the residential adult learning centre on the Wirral.

The next step was applying for and getting a part-time advice and development worker
post at a community IT centre run by volunteers. Vivien is proud of her achievements
there. ‘I started a homework club, built up the centre from 100 to 700 users a month and
recruited more volunteers.’ Having started a second IT centre, she received a local award
for community service. Then, she got a job at West Cheshire College, supporting the
community learning team. By now she had started a Level 2 English course and a pre-
access course.

‘There was this shop where I worked for five years,’ Vivien recalls, ‘and every year I
would gaze at the students in their gowns as they walked past to the cathedral for their
graduation. I dreamt of becoming a student but it was pure fantasy. It never crossed my
mind that one day I would be enrolled on an access course leading to a degree.’ Vivien
had always struggled with her reading and writing and like many people in a similar
position, developed ways of disguising the problem.

Seeing their mum’s progress has had a marked effect on her children. ‘Before they were
borderline grade B,’ she says, ‘but now seeing what I’ve being able to achieve has really
encouraged them and they’ve become A star swots.’

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While many CLCs gain confidence and skills, and maybe move into new roles or
into employment, some people drop out. It makes sense to try and keep the
drop-out rate to a minimum, given the time and expense of recruiting, selecting
and training volunteers.

Volunteers who have only a hazy idea of what they are volunteering for, and who
are not sufficiently committed and motivated, are the most likely to leave.

To minimise the drop-out rate, plan well and consider the following guidelines:
      Be clear about roles and responsibilities.
      Recruit carefully.
      Select according to defined criteria.
      Provide clear and inspiring support for your volunteers.

Volunteering England’s ‘Good Practice Bank’
( is an excellent source of
ideas to help you get the best out of volunteers. The website has a range of
information on managing volunteers, including information on support and

Regional networks
The regional networks aim to bring people together to share information and
good practice. In the longer term, regional networks will be a rich source of
support for managers and development workers and CLCs.

For information about your regional network, see the Community Learning
Champions website – ‘Regions and events’ section

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CLCs have been shown to be doing valuable work – the benefits to other
learners, to communities and CLCs themselves have been well documented.
Many excellent schemes have ended, however, because funding has run out or
priorities have changed. This section considers some ways in which you can try
to ensure that your CLC scheme continues.

3.1       Building partnerships
3.2       Contributing to local agendas
3.3       Monitoring and evaluation
3.4       Making sure people know about your scheme

3.1       Building partnerships

CLC schemes work best as part of a local network – that’s the evidence from
previous schemes. It is important for CLC schemes to establish good working
links with a range of organisations, including the following:
         Learning providers;
         Information, advice and guidance (IAG) services;
         Libraries and museums;
         Local voluntary service councils;
         UKonline centres;
         Trade unions and unionlearn.

CLCs link potential learners with learning, and can offer useful feedback to
providers about how well their courses or clubs meet local needs. CLC schemes
therefore need well-managed links with a range of organisations that provide

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learning. Schemes must obtain accurate, up-to-date information about local self-
organised activities – like community choirs, gardening clubs and local history
groups – as well as more structured classes offered by local colleges and adult
education centres. And CLCs need to gain the confidence of learners and
providers, so that they can act as trusted intermediaries. CLCs can then enable a
two-way flow of information and help improve learners’ experiences.

Experience shows that while learning providers are often happy for CLCs to
signpost their classes and other activities, they are sometimes less keen to
consider CLCs’ feedback. Sometimes, a third party can explain to learning
providers why they should listen to CLCs.

Strong links between CLCs and other bodies with a stake in informal adult
learning can help to promote progression for both learners and CLCs. These
organisations include local IAG services, which can help learners make learning
or career choices. CLCs need to know how and when to refer a learner for
specialist help.

Libraries are important because they provide a range of local information and
play an important part in wider informal adult learning. Libraries are increasingly
keen to attract a broader cross-section of people. Some libraries have recruited
volunteers to reach out to the communities and social groups that do not use
libraries – or museums – as much as they might. Many libraries will be badging
their volunteers as CLCs. It therefore makes sense for CLC schemes to talk to
libraries about collaboration.

Volunteering can give learners the drive and focus to decide what they want to
do next, so volunteering organisations are useful allies. Local voluntary service
councils are often the centre for volunteering activities in their area.

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In some areas, trade union learning centres and union learning representatives
are opening their facilities to local residents. Unionlearn is keen to work with
community-based organisations, especially CLC schemes, to make these
facilities more widely available.

Many bodies are important in helping CLCs with career progression. CLCs may
want to become IAG advisors or work in adult education, so good working
relationships with relevant organisations are helpful. CLCs may want to move
into another field of work, such as health, housing or social care. Again, it is vital
that CLC scheme managers know who to contact.

The resources section of the CLC website
( has more information
about how CLCs can work with a range of partner organisations.

Relationships between CLC schemes and other organisations work best when
they are reciprocal. In a climate of public spending cuts, showing that CLCs have
something to offer partner organisations can make a difference when it comes to
determining local spending priorities. Find out how you can help your partner
body achieve its objectives.

Services are often required to demonstrate that they have considered feedback.
You could, therefore, ask your CLCs to provide feedback on service delivery. For

      If your CLCs work with people in sheltered accommodation, they could
       collect feedback for the local authority on older people’s views of the
       services available.

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      If the library service has targets to increase the number of people using
       local libraries, you could collect evidence of how CLCs signpost people to
       libraries and encourage them to join.

      If your CLC scheme focuses on people who are unemployed or on long-
       term benefits, your work could contribute to local targets for reducing the
       number of benefit claimants.

      If CLCs engage learners who then go on to achieve Level 2 or 3
       qualifications, this could contribute to local skills targets.

      If your CLCs progress to further training or paid employment, this could
       contribute towards local job-creation targets.

3.2    Contributing to local agendas

‘The estate has changed dramatically – confidence wise, self-esteem
wise. There is a lot more community spirit now, and there are a lot more people
that are actually in jobs or training to get themselves into jobs.’

Identifying the quantitative and qualitative impact of your CLC scheme and the
contribution that CLCs are making to local issues and objectives (see Section
3.3, Monitoring and evaluation) can help you make the case for your scheme to
other possible funders.

Local Area Agreements (LAAs): why they are important to CLC schemes
To ensure that your scheme and the work of the CLCs has most impact, try to
get the work included in the relevant LAA.

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An LAA is a three-year agreement that sets out the priorities for a local area,
based on the local Sustainable Community strategy. Central government agrees
these priorities with a local area, represented by a local authority and the local
strategic partnership. LAAs place a real emphasis on the outcomes of local
services and the difference local services make to people.

By getting involved you can:
      demonstrate the value that CLCs can bring to the LAA – by increasing
       volunteering and social networks, and improving the delivery of services in
       the voluntary and public sectors;
      contribute to changes in the way services are delivered, for the benefit of
      secure additional funding and other support for increasing CLC activity.

To get involved in your LAA, contact your local strategic partnership, community
empowerment network, local Volunteer Development Agency or local authority.

Other funding opportunities
If your scheme focuses on a particular target group, for example ex-offenders,
specialist charities or national bodies may offer financial support.

You will need to know the main drivers or objectives of these charities and bodies
in order to explain how your CLC scheme can contribute to their priorities. A
useful national resource on funding is the National Family Learning Network’s
funding directory, issued by Campaign for Learning (see www.campaign-for- Although this is a resource for family
learning practitioners, many of the organisations described may consider funding
CLC schemes.

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Keep abreast of local, regional and national policies and think about how the
work of your CLC scheme could help deliver, or contribute to, policy objectives.
That way you will be able to identify and collect the kinds of evidence that will
attract potential funders and help you make a robust case in funding applications.
You might even recruit a volunteer to do this research for you.

3.3. Monitoring and evaluation

Effective monitoring and evaluation produces evidence that is useful to your
scheme, your funders, a variety of partners and potential funders. So it’s
essential that you monitor and evaluate. A good monitoring and evaluation
process will enable you to:
      assess how well you are doing and what needs to be improved;
      demonstrate to current funders that you are meeting your objectives;
      showcase your work and demonstrate your success to others, including
       potential future funders.

Identify early on how you will monitor and evaluate your scheme. If you monitor
from the start, you can collect the right information and evidence as you go
along. It is a lot more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to gather information
after the event.

Monitoring is collecting the right information, at intervals, in order to help you see
what progress you are making in relation to your objectives and make changes if

The information you collect will help you to evaluate your scheme. The funder of
your scheme is also likely to want specific data from you.

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Evaluation is gathering evidence to measure the value and quality of your
scheme. You can then show:
      what worked and why it worked;
      what hasn’t worked and why;
      what the scheme has done for those taking part;
      what difference the scheme has made;
      what has been learned;
      how funding has been put to good use;
      what you would do differently next time.

In simple terms, evaluation is about answering the question ‘How do you know
what you think you know, and where is the evidence?’

Evaluation is important because it will help make sure that you are:
      doing your best for CLCs and learners;
      using your resources in a responsible way;
      using evidence to improve, develop and sustain your work.

Designing an evaluation plan
Think through carefully how you might measure the impact of your CLC scheme.
You need to collect both quantitative information (facts and figures) and
qualitative information (people’s experiences and opinions), and also measure
the contribution that CLCs are making to local issues and objectives.

The following questions will help you to put your plan together.

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Planning                     Why are you running this scheme?
                             What, specifically, do you want to achieve?
                             How will you know whether you have succeeded?
Collecting evidence          Who will give and collect the evidence?
                             How will you collect the evidence you need – what
                              methods best suit the way you work?
                             When – in the lifetime of the scheme – will you use
                              these methods?
Analysing and                What does the evidence tell you?
interpreting the             Could you make any changes in how you collect the
evidence                      evidence?
Reflecting and               What can you learn from the evidence?
moving forward               Are there any changes that would improve how the
                              scheme is working?
                             How will you do things differently in the future?
Reporting and                Who will you tell about the scheme and why?
sharing                      How will you tell them?
                             What will you tell them?

Gathering evidence
Good evaluation usually combines three or four different methods of gathering
evidence. Some methods supply facts and figures (quantitative). Others are
better for recording people’s feelings or experiences during the scheme
(qualitative). Here is a list of ways of gathering evidence.

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Surveys and                 Face-to-face interviews     Telephone interviews
Useful for answering        They allow for more         Can be more cost
‘how’ and ‘what’            probing questions and       effective than face-to-
questions                   more in-depth answers       face interviews
                            than questionnaires
Focus groups                Users’ forums               Listening campaigns
Help you canvass several Encourage a more open          Can be used to solve
people’s views about        dialogue about broader      problems or to identify
your scheme                 issues                      issues
Doing a SWOT analysis       Graffiti walls              Open space
Helps you think about the   Offer a chance for people   Allows everyone to work
strengths, weaknesses,      to express themselves in    on the issues that matter
opportunities and threats   different ways              to them
involved in an issue or
Log books, blogs and        Photo diaries and           Storyboards
web chats                   scrapbooks
Can record the writer’s     Do not rely on lots of      Offer an approach to
developing experience of    writing, and enable         discussing issues and
the scheme                  people to be creative       responding to questions

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Storytelling and                Video and audio diaries     Performances and
testimonies                                                 presentations
Can illustrate what a           Can become the talking      Provide the opportunity
scheme is doing, and            points that enable          and occasion for
also give the storyteller’s     potential funders and       participants to showcase
own account of the              policy makers to better     what they can do and to
experience; they provide        understand the context      give the audience a vivid
the opportunity for less        and purpose of your work    sense of the scheme in
confident voices to be                                      action

Evaluating partnerships
If you are working in a partnership to develop your CLC scheme, it is worth
considering the effectiveness of this approach. The following questions may help
you evaluate the success of your partnership working.

Equality of participation          How far have you overcome barriers to
Clarity of purpose                 Do you have an explicit agreement about your
                                   shared vision, aims and objectives, based on
                                   jointly held values that everyone has signed up
Commitment and ownership           Are the actions you have specified on paper really
                                   taking place?
Trust                              Do members of the partnership trust each other
                                   and respect each other’s status, irrespective of
                                   some having more resources than others?
Clarity of responsibility and      Is everyone clear about what resources and
roles                              assets each partner is contributing and to whom
                                   they are accountable?

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Reporting your findings
Support everything you say in your evaluation report with evidence.

The following structure is typical of an evaluation report:
      Introduction to the report;
      About your scheme (e.g. aims and objectives, key partners, activities and
      About the evaluation (e.g. aims, objectives and methodology);
      Evaluation findings (to include quotes/learner stories);
      Conclusions (e.g. good practice, positive impacts, issues and challenges,
       lessons learned/transferable tips);
      References;
      Acknowledgements;
      Appendices;
      Further ideas.

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Evaluation Resource Pack contains detailed
guidance on planning, conducting and reporting an evaluation, and a wide range
of creative and interesting participatory methods for carrying out evaluations. The
pack includes checklists and examples of good and interesting practice. You can
download the full document free of charge on the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
website at (‘Publications’ section).

Some ‘do’s’
Here are some points to consider about evaluation:

      Include funding for evaluation in the budget for your CLC scheme.

      Have an evaluation plan in place at the beginning of your CLC scheme.

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      Focus the plan on the aims and needs of your scheme and its various

      Incorporate evaluation into the everyday activities of the scheme. Make it
       part of what you do.

      Combine different methods to gather evidence. This will help you build up
       as full a picture as possible.

      Use your findings to inform the development of the scheme.

      Be as honest as possible. Showing that you recognise and have learned
       from any mistakes is good practice.

Planning for sustainability
Here is a useful sustainable planning form, which will help you plan to take your
scheme forward.

CLC scheme name:
1. SWOT analysis of your scheme (no more than four points per heading).
Strengths                                 Weaknesses

Opportunities                             Threats

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2. Identify two or three elements of your scheme/informal adult learning work
arising from your scheme that should be taken forward.



3. Identify how to take forward each element in question 2 above. NB
Consider your options in the following order:
      i.     Mainstreaming into your/others’ existing programmes/activity
      ii.    Sustainable infrastructure partnerships/networks
      iii.   Seeking additional/further funding.




3.4   Making sure people know about your scheme

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You need other people to know about your scheme, so it’s worth devising a
communications strategy. To do this, you need to consider the following:

      Who are the people and organisations you want to communicate with?

      What information do you want to communicate to each organisation?

      Why might each organisation want to work with you? (What’s in it for

      What methods do you use to communicate (e.g. website, leaflets, face-to-
       face communications)?

      How successful are your communication methods? How can you measure
       their success? How can you improve what you currently do?

      Are there other methods that you could consider?

      What is your timescale to get the message across?

      What can you realistically achieve with the resources (time and money)
       that you have available?

Include CLCs in the work to build an inspirational evidence bank for your
scheme. Ask CLCs to collect human interest stories – case studies that
demonstrate the impact that they’re having is having on people’s lives. You will
need to brief CLCs carefully on the kind of information you want them to collect,
and give some examples.

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If learners are willing to be filmed, build a collection of ‘talking heads’ – real
people whose lives have been changed by learning. Current learners can
connect with new learners, existing stakeholders and even future funders.
Remember to gain permission if you plan to use people’s quotations – see the
permission form in Section 2.6, Providing ongoing support for your CLCs.

The events you organise to celebrate the achievements of your CLCs and the
learners they support can also attract good publicity for the scheme, with articles
and other coverage in the local press and other media.

For more ideas about how to approach the media, see the media toolkit on the
Community Learning Champions website at