Learning Workshops


Learning Workshops

Learning workshops enable you to explore a topic in more depth, combining expert input and learning with your peers and identifying actions you can take to affect change. The topics covered are based on key themes (e.g. strategic priorities and skills) prevalent across the network. WHERE THE GREEN BOX APPEARS, PLEASE OPEN THE DESCRIPTION AND CLICK THE BOOK HERE BUTTON TO BOOK YOUR PLACE.

Learning Workshops Please open the description and click the Book here button to book your place.

A backbone organisation is a critical but behind-the-scenes organisation for collective impact initiatives and social movements. Two years ago, Active Gloucestershire began exploring whether to adopt this model. We went through an 18 month test period before the Board made a final decision, in October 2019, to go for it. Bob Thust, from Practical Governance, guided us through this process. This session will explore what a backbone organisation is, why it feels like a good organisational model for Active Partnerships (particularly those hoping to build movements), what it means to become one and the changes Active Gloucestershire have had to make.

Who is the session for?

Directors, Board members, SMT, ops leads

Facilitator(s): Deborah Potts, CEO, Active Gloucestershire; Bob Thust, Practical Governance

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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn’. Benjamin Franklin’s oft quoted remark rings true today with top performing organisations more than 5 times likely to have a learning culture thriving in their practices. And with continuous learning at the forefront of system working and thinking, this is highly relevant for all leaders seeking to develop effective place-based working practices. Whilst most leaders would say they support learning in their teams, developing processes and a culture which enables all its organisation’s individuals to seek, share, develop, innovate and reward through learning can seem complex.

This session explores the why, what, how and when of building a learning culture. Sharing good practices, tools, quick and long-term wins, it is designed to help leaders identify the needs of its organisation and take away ideas, practices and a commitment to improving their organisational effectiveness through learning.

Who is the session for?

CEOs/Directors, members of senior leadership teams, Workforce Leads and those responsible for organisational development within their teams.

Facilitator(s): Ali Shipway, Director of Shipway Consulting Ltd who, as an expert on leadership and learning is a passionate advocate of business improvement and the development of high performing teams. With a background supporting Active Partnerships as a Quest Facilitator, and Active Partnerships National Board Trustee, Ali has an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities across the sector and landscape. www.shipway-consulting.co.uk.

Pre-reading: https://shipway-consulting.co.uk/blog/

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This learning session will explore the strategic context for social prescribing for England and the latest policy developments taking place including the latest on supporting the new 1,000 Link Workers and the new National Social Prescribing Academy. The session will then put a spotlight on the work being done by a number of Active Partnerships around upskilling social prescribers to better understand the benefits of sport and physical activity and ways in which Active Partnerships are working to increase and improve community capacity to provide a welcoming and high quality experience for individuals with long-term health conditions.

Who is the session for?

Any Active Partnership who is already working in or beginning to work on the social prescribing agenda and are interested in hearing more about the different ways Active Partnerships are working in this space.

Facilitator(s):  Jo Robins (NHS England Regional Facilitator – Midlands Social Prescribing Network), Abi Dixon (Think Active), Charlie Crane (Active Partnerships National Team), Tom Burton (National Partnerships Lead (Health & Inactivity) Sport England), Delia Beck Partnerships Lead (Market Development and Active Environments), Sport England).

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Evidence is growing that the design of our neighbourhoods, transport routes, work places and wider built environments can have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of our local communities. The workshop will cover:

  • Case study of outcomes from Healthy New Town Bicester programme and resulting expansion of the work and system impact.
  • Influencing Norfolk’s system leaders - implementing Active Design principles
  • Group discussions on stakeholder identification, prioritizing opportunities and capacity

Who is the session for?

  • Active partnerships engaged in implementing Active Environment policies and plans – sharing learning
  • Active partnerships with an interest in developing a place-based approach to tackling inactivity through Active Design principles

Facilitator(s): Simon Hamilton, Strategic Director at Active Norfolk & Dr Rosie Rowe, Oxfordshire’s Lead for Healthy Place Shaping and Dave Stock (LRS)

Simon is a Strategic Director at Active Norfolk, one of the Sport England Extended Workforce roles. His background is 20 years in the RAF as an RAF Regiment Officer, working globally protecting RAF personnel and aircraft from attack. As a Squadron Leader he specialized in strategy development, innovation and commanded a squadron on UK and overseas operations. He spent a year as Transformation Director at Buckinghamshire NHS Healthcare Trust before joining Active Norfolk in January 2019.  His work as a system connector is focused on ensuring Norfolk’s built environment and open spaces enable and support people to be more active.

Dr Rosie Rowe, is Oxfordshire’s Lead for Healthy Place Shaping.  After initially working with a national health care charity, she joined the NHS to lead quality improvement in integrated community health and social care in Bath & North East Somerset.  Subsequently she focused on the sustainability and development of General Practice supporting the establishment of GP Federations and the delivery of enhanced primary care in Oxfordshire before becoming the Bicester Healthy New Town Programme Director.  Following the success of this pilot programme, Rosie is now responsible for scaling the healthy place shaping approach to other areas of growth in Oxfordshire.

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As active partnerships rise to the challenge of their new primary role what can we learn about what works in terms of embedding activity for the 55+ age group into local health systems?  Furthermore, what are the opportunities and challenges for this and other work in light of the current and unprecedented global crisis? In this webinar we will ruminate four fundamental questions:

  • What does it mean to work collaboratively and how do you engage the right people?
  • How do you influence decisions made about strategy, commissioning and resources at a local level?
  • What are the key skills and levers you need to deploy to ensure activity for the 55+ age group has legitimacy in your area?
  • What can we learn about system change in times of crisis?
You will hear about system changes to embed physical activity in primary and secondary care in Dorset with a focus on Falls and Musculoskeletal Health and you will have the opportunity to share learning about what works in practice. Join us for this interactive webinar designed to help all of us navigate both existing and uncharted territory. Who is the session for? Colleagues engaged with health systems and older people work.   Facilitator(s): Charlie Coward, Active Ageing Project Manager, Active Dorset & Michaela Pinchard. Charlie manages a system change project to embed physical activity across Dorset’s Integrated Care System. Charlie’s role is designed to enhance collaborative working, she splits her working week between Active Dorset, Dorset CCG and Public Health Dorset offices. Michaela is a management consultant and coach with a background of 35+ years in the field of social care which includes operational management, policy, partnership and integration with the NHS. As a consultant, coach and facilitator, Michaela has worked across the country with a portfolio of social care, health and charitable sector clients. Commissions have included board and team development, strategy development, service review, interim management and one to one coaching. Michaela is also trained as a peer reviewer with the Local Government Association and has worked on a number of peer reviews and sector-led improvement initiatives around the country. Michaela has always had a passion for physical activity, health and well-being. She volunteers as a Non-Executive Director for an Active Partnership and as a Director of a Community Interest Company which provides support for adults and children with additional needs using the natural environment. Book Here

This session is for Chairs/Board members and will build on discussions from the AGM and of the National Board, and reflect on our ongoing discussions with Tim Hollingsworth and the morning discussion about the Sport England strategy, to discuss the evolving roles and relationships between the National Board and Team, Sport England and the Partnerships.  The workshop will also include a session on recruiting diverse Boards with Perrett Laver.

Who is the session for?

Chairs / Board members

Facilitator(s): Doug Patterson, Chair, Active Partnerships national board

The sport and physical activity sector is on a journey of understanding and delivering effective evaluation of programmes. Common questions include; can you measure how many people took part in your programme and if participants experienced the desired outcome? Can you be sure that it was the specific activity they took part in that caused the shift in the outcome? And can you then put a value on the impact of your programme?


There are different perspectives on how we enhance our approach to enable us to answer these questions and build a credible evidence base. An evidence base that can support us in making physical activity and sport a viable option within non-sport agendas and agencies.


This workshop will create the space for people to share and explore their learning in evaluating programmes. It will consider what support already exists and can add value to your approach. And how we collectively build on the opportunities and address the challenges in developing a credible evidence base. Colleagues from the Sport England Insight Team will be part of the conversations alongside Active Partnerships, to explore how we can maximise our shared learning and resources in addressing the questions raised.


Who is the session for?
Colleagues actively involved in delivering, or commissioning, evaluation of physical activity and sport programmes. And are prepared to discuss their learning. Note – while clearly linked, this workshop is not about measuring the progress of broader local delivery/system change. This is covered in the ‘Creating the conditions for an active nation: how do we know if we are making progress?’ workshop on day 2.


Facilitator(s): Darcy Hare, Sport England Insight Team & Graeme Sinnott, Head of Learning & Insight, Active Partnerships National Team

The WHO states: ‘It is clear that if health professionals prescribe exercise or provide counselling on physical activity, their patients will be more active’. A recent article in ‘Health Promotion International’ describes the value of PA promotion in the health care setting but states: ‘… success relies on the acceptability and efficiency of primary care professionals to deliver PA counselling. To this end, appropriate training and financial support are crucial. Similarly, human resourcing and synergy between the different stakeholders must be addressed. To obtain maximum adherence, specific populations should be targeted and interventions adapted to their needs. Key enablers include motivational interviewing, social support and multi-disciplinary approaches’. ‘Prevention is better than cure’ recently published by the Department of Health reinforces all of this.

Working in this field is a complex ‘minefield’ for Active Partnerships; it is difficult to know where to start, where to concentrate efforts and who can help.    This facilitated workshop will provide the opportunity for Active Partnerships to discuss, learn and debate with each other to help them navigate what might be possible and achievable in their partnership area. 

The workshop will start with a couple succinct case studies from Active Essex and Get Berkshire Active both of whom are delivering work in this area. Participants will then be encouraged in smaller groups to discuss their own ‘journeys’ in this increasingly important area of work.  The workshop aims:

  • to try and understand some common themes: common pitfalls and common key ingredients
  • wherever you are on your ‘journey’ you can take away some tangible ideas to help with the next steps.
  • open up a potentially huge route to the inactive market via work with HCPs, exploring new ways of working with possible opportunities for new investment.


Who is the session for?

This workshop is for participants who have a leading role around health & physical activity and/or workforce development in their Active Partnership.  It does not matter where you are currently in terms of this work as we hope there will be something that we can all learn and takeaway from the session and all those attending will have value to add.  This may be in sharing what you have already learnt and what you are doing to asking the naïve but important questions around where do we even start.


Facilitator(s): Brett Nicholls, CEO, Get Berkshire Active and Simon King, Relationship Manager, Active Essex.

One in five people in our population are disabled or live with a long-term health condition. Yet the stark reality is that disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive. Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is an exciting programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Funded by Spirit of 2012, all partners are focused on getting some of the UK's least active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities.


Your Leisure, the leisure provider across East Kent, and Kent Sport, identified Thanet to become a GOGA locality back in October 2016 due to its high levels of deprivation, low participation, and broader health needs. The workshop will look at the key ingredients and principles for change within Thanet and support delegates to consider how these ingredients are transferable ways of thinking and working in creating inclusive activity.



  • To explore the collaborative working, opportunities and challenges through the lens of the district of Thanet to engage inactive communities into physical activity.
  • To explore the conditions established within Thanet that are enabling inclusive activity.
  • To consider the opportunities in applying the learning to actions you are taking locally in creating inclusive activity for disabled and non-disabled people together.


Who is the session for?

Colleagues looking to tackle inactivity and create the conditions locally for disabled and non-disabled people to be physically active together.


Facilitator(s): Helen Derby (Activity Alliance, GOGA England Manager) and Nicola File (Activity Alliance, Engagement advisor)

“The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.” Jonathan Haidt


Crafting a narrative that motivates people to take action is one of the most important aspects of systems leadership. It is also one of the most challenging. Year after year and meeting after meeting great ideas and opportunities fail because the narratives we use do not connect with the people we need to mobilize.


In this workshop you will have the opportunity to be introduced to the art and science of Public narrative. Public Narrative is a leadership practice that can be used in a number of different contexts and groups of people that you are seeking to motivate to join you in action. It is a framework for crafting and telling your story developed by Prof. Marshall Ganz of the Harvard University. You will have the opportunity to hear a full narrative, be introduced to why storytelling and narrative is a key leadership tool and begin to develop your own storytelling skills.


Who is the session for?

Leaders at every level interested in how to unlock their storytelling potential in order to create narratives that bring about meaningful change.


Facilitator(s): Nigel Pietroni, Director, Pietroni Leadership Associates.


Nigel has used narrative skills and storytelling all his working life. As a senior leader in The Church of England, Nigel used narrative skills not only in the obvious ways on a Sunday morning, but also to bring about change in the most challenging of communities in which he worked. Nigel now spends much of his time delivering leadership training with a particular focus on Public Narrative around the country and has worked with many clients ranging from the NHS to universities.

Colleagues will be asked what is important to them in their work with people in Low Socio Economic Groups (LSEG), so that they can share, explore and learn together using an open space technique.


A third of England’s population are living in our poorest communities and are individuals and families who are often excluded because of circumstances such as low income, unemployment status, low educational attainment, location and social mobility. This portion of the population comprises a significant number of under-represented groups including BAME and disabled people and are most likely to experience poor physical and mental health, lower resilience, skills and access to meaningful jobs. People living in our poorest communities are also most likely to be the least physically active and this is an unacceptable inequality.


We need to work collectively to address these inequalities. This workshop will bring together colleagues to explore what’s important about working with our poorest communities to increase levels of physical activity. Participants will be setting the agenda and drawing out the important themes from local work. Colleagues from Sport England’s LSEG Team will be part of the conversations alongside Active Partnerships, as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen collaboration and maximise our collective learning.


Who is the session for?

Colleagues actively working with their communities, have an open mind and are prepared to talk about what is important in their local work.


Facilitator(s): Kathryn Mudge, Yorkshire Sport Foundation and colleagues from Sport England LSEG Team

The Active Soles movement wasn’t in the GM Moving Plan. It is no one’s job. There is no budget for it. It emerged out of a conversation, and has become a helpful metaphor to illustrate how movement building can work in practice. You would be forgiven for thinking that this conversation is all about wearing trainers to work. But this is not the case. It is about a conversation that has become a catalyst for culture change.

This workshop will explore how we can start and grow social movements and what roles, conditions and approaches are required for a movement to grow. It will help you think about your role, and what you can do to effect change, and aims:

  • To share the GM Moving journey and learning.
  • To explore movement building in this context; what does it take to create the conditions for a movement to grow.
  • To explore our potential leadership roles in growing a movement, enabling culture change, system change and behaviour change.
  • To understand the value of the roles we and our organisations play, and how to change the conversation, so that we are measuring what matters.

Who is the session for?

Anyone interested in exploring their leadership role in movement building and culture change.


Facilitator(s): Hayley Lever, GreaterSport

There are significant numbers of people in drug and alcohol recovery across England, bringing significant cost to treatment services and networks. The factors that influence the lives of someone addicted to substances are multi-faceted and the recovery networks that exist seek to support people back into being healthy and economically active citizens.


The Challenge through Sport Initiative (CSI) is a bespoke behaviour change programme for people in recovery, mostly from substance and alcohol misuse. It also now works with people with mental health issues, ex-offenders, people in social isolation and families. The key focus is to encourage participants who are often in poor mental and physical health to engage in activity to improve their long-term health and economic profiles. The success of the project is down to the support workers and volunteers who all have lived experience of substance misuse. The impact of work in this space has been far reaching, using CSI as a catalyst for long term change. For example, influencing policy (eg, Public health revising tenders to include physical activity in substance misuse tenders), as well as at a social level (eg, shifting perspectives on how people view those recovering from substance misuse).



  • To enhance understanding of the journey people suffering from substance misuse experience through recovery networks and back into employment.
  • To enhance understanding of the inter-connectivity of substance misuse treatment services and recovery networks.
  • To explore the opportunities for making sport and physical activity a viable option with these networks.
  • To consider how to apply the learning and key principles from Active Lancashire’s work in this space within your own local networks and across relevant agencies.


Who is the session for?

For colleagues actively, or interested in, connecting and brokering relationships with treatment services and recovery networks and positioning sport and physical activity as a viable option for organisations working with isolated, and often inactive, members of society.


Facilitator(s): Jane Moodie, CSI Project Co-Ordinator, Active Lancashire

Latest ONS figures show that 76.1% of the UK working age population are in work. We also know that there is strong evidence of how being physically active improves physical and mental wellbeing, and productivity. Also, how it reduces stress and absenteeism. It also appears that Public Sector Anchor Organisations are becoming increasingly interested in being model employers in terms of keeping their staff happy and healthy.

This presents Active Partnerships with an opportunity to link and work more collaboratively with Local Economic partnerships (LEPs), other economic partners and major employers. And many Active Partnerships are already thinking about and /or doing this.

In this workshop you’ll get a chance to learn from others and share your own learning about engaging in the economic agenda. And, in this workshop we will identify what doesn’t work as well as what does.

By the end of the workshop you will:

  • Have a clear idea of how physical activity and sport link to the economic agenda
  • Have statistics to help you make the case
  • Have heard some examples of how some Active Partnerships have connected in with their Local Economic partnerships
  • Shared your own stories
  • Have a plan for your own Active Partnership to approach your LEP/ further strengthen the work you are already doing

Who is the session for?

Colleagues connected to the economic agenda. Come and join us for an informative and interactive workshop and take away new knowledge and resources.


Facilitator(s): The workshop will be facilitated by Yorkshire Sport Foundation, WeSport and Active Lancashire

In this session we will explore the challenges and successes that we are all having in creating a more diverse and representative workforce. We also will look into new Sport England LGBT+ insight and transgender facilities guidance to consider where this could inform and support your current / future work.

Who is it aimed at?

All staff

Facilitator(s): Jamie Hooper (Senior Equality and Diversity Manager), Sport England

Conversations about ‘local work’ are increasingly focusing on how we impact on the inter-connected factors that influence how active people can be. Whether that be shifts in relevant policy, the built environment designing physical activity back into everyday life or how organisations collaborate to support people to be active. The natural progression from thinking about local work in this way is then to ask so how do we understand what is changing in these factors as a result of our collective efforts? Do these changes represent progress? Who decides what is progress? What is our value in the work?

This workshop will explore the measurement journey that our collective local work is on and provide actionable takeaways to enhance approaches in measuring the progress of local work.


  • To raise awareness of the emerging shifts in approach to measuring change, progress and value within local delivery
  • To explore the learning from a range of approaches to measuring the progress of local work
  • To consider how the Strategic Outputs within the PMIF support our conversations
  • To identify actions that enhance your approach to measuring progress locally
  • To have helped shape a more deliberate approach in collectively sharing learning around measurement

Who is the session for?

Colleagues actively working across their local system to affect change and interested in measuring the progress towards creating the conditions for an active nation. Note – while clearly linked, this workshop will not focus on the evaluation of programmes. This is covered in the ‘Effective evaluation of our programmes’ workshop on day 1.

Facilitator(s): Graeme Sinnott, Active Partnerships National Team, Ed Sandham and Ben Williams, Sport England

A compressive look at the journey community sport is undertaking to build an evidence base for its impact on youth crime and ASB. From understanding the right offer and engaging the right participants through to differentiating the sector and building robust partnerships to secure evidence-based investment into activity, capacity and workforce. Time will be given for Active Partnerships to discuss how they may lead support or facility this work, what this has meant in the emerging world of youth violence and how we can integrate into a valued place within the sporting ecosystem. 

The session will explore policy drivers within criminal justice,  unpick what it actually means when we hear a public health response, truly understand the national picture of serious youth violence and create space to debate what delegates feel really is the role of sport within youth crime.   

Who is the session for?

The session is aimed at staff with responsibilities for, or interest in, building collaborative partnerships with the criminal justice sector to use sport as a vehicle to prevent young people from entering the criminal justice system.

Facilitator(s): StreetGames Director of Sport and Community Safety, Stuart Felce and National Partnerships Manager, Graham Helm, . Louise Voyce from Active Essex/LDP.

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To take delegates on a journey of how ABCD learnings can translate into whole systems approaches to behaviour change.


We expect that delegates will be more comfortable around ABCD approaches and as such we will use a common theme/topic from within the room (ie a topic they are familiar with, older people, people living with disabilities) as a starting point to applying the habits of a systems thinker.


Delegates will be supported to use whole systems tools alongside key principles of ABCD community development to understand how other parts of the system can support behaviour change (understanding our assets? what do we know? what is within our 'gift' and what is not? what are our keys to the system? what role is there for others?)


Key to this discussion will be identifying who else is missing from the system (mapping activity) and understanding how we can successfully make it 'their business' and understanding 'what’s in it for them".  Delegates will leave with a better understanding of how they can reframe the debate with key stakeholders without comprising the ABCD values and principles.


We are keen to understand from the room issues you are currently facing in taking forward ABCD approaches within a whole systems framework, and facilitate delegates to come up with possible solutions from experiences on peers on the day. The workshop style will be interactive and engaging, we will create interactive bespoke worksheets for the delegates who can continue using when they return.


Who is the session for?

Colleagues using an ABCD approach in their Active Partnership


Facilitator(s): Joanne Pullen-Fagg, Co-founder/Director, www.activmob.org.


Aside from working with Activmob, I have owned my own successful business since 2007 and work across a variety of different sectors, including fitness, and continue to teach a number of community based fitness classes across Kent. I love using the experiences I have within fitness and coaching, project management and business development into very different contexts, and enjoy witnessing the innovative results that creates.

An interactive workshop looking at how to embed physical activity in the mental health system and vice versa. We will speak to organisations who have done this and discuss how it can be replicated by other organisations. We will also discuss what support is required to embed physical activity in the mental health system and vice versa.

Part 1 – overview:


  • Reflection on the journey both sectors have been on.
  • Reflection on where we are as a society around mental health
  • The impact of physical activity on mental health

Part 2 – current good practice (TBC):

Springfield Mind & Think Active (CSW), London Sport - PAfH/IAPT group, LEAP and/or Active Oxfordshire

Part 3 – developing this further:

  • What is needed for each sector to truly embed the other
  • What tools and resources are there to support already?
  • How can people with lived experience of mental health problems support this work?

Who is the session for?

Colleagues focusing on mental health in their Active Partnership

Facilitator(s): Sam Perks (Sector Support Lead for Physical Activity, MIND) & Karla Burton (MIND)

 To influence behaviour, at individual, community or systems level, you need a strong organisational and leadership narrative.

The world sees our personality and values through our behaviour and most often – in a virtual world - through our communication. By creating a compelling and consistent narrative of who you are and what you’re trying to achieve, you can influence change.

This practical workshop will share tools and examples that will allow you to develop a personal narrative that inspires and activates. Utilising behavioural science the workshop will explore how to align organisational and individual narratives, and address communication to senior leaders and the diverse communities Active Partnerships serve.

Who is the session for?

Leaders at every level interested in creating narratives that bring about meaningful change.

Facilitator(s): Jo Metcalfe (ThinkforWellbeing and Active Lincolnshire board member) and Louise Kavanagh (ThinkforWellbeing).

Jo Metcalfe - Founder and Director of ThinkforWellbeing, providing support, clarity and confidence to health and wellbeing organisations. With an interest in compassionate leadership and a focus on utilising behavioural theory to influence system change. Jo brings a wealth of experience from across the public, private and voluntary sector. Through her current work at The Royal Foundation and Vice Chair of Active Lincolnshire, she has a deep understanding of the challenges facing Active Partnerships.

Louise Kavanagh - Louise is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Charity Comms and significant brand, marketing and communications experience in the social sector. As Founder and Director at Purposeful Marketing, she offers experience and expertise with an interest in using behavioural science to influence communications. Louise offers expertise in; brand, product and service development; marketing and communications (on and offline) and internal and external stakeholder engagement.

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