Learning to take part as active citizens: emerging lessons for community organising in Britain
Packham, Carol; Mendiwelso-Bendek, Zoraida; Mayo, Marjorie (2012)

Learning to take part in civil society as an active citizen has emerged as a topical policy commitment in the United Kingdom, with the present government’s controversial Big Society programme aiming to train 500 senior community organisers and 4,500 mid-level community organisers. Rather
than speculating on these initiatives in the absence, as yet, of research evidence, this article reflects on previous government programmes to promote community-based learning for active citizenship and the lessons that are emerging from researching these.After an introductory section,
the next section outlines two approaches that were developed by the previous government: the Active Learning for Active Citizenship (ALAC) programme and its successor programme Take Part. This sets the context for the discussion in the following section of the findings from research that explored
the two programmes’ impacts and limitations at different levels. The final section then reflects on emerging lessons, raising questions about some potential implications in the new (although not entirely dissimilar) policy context.

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