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«A. Telephone Interview 1 Particularly interested in: “Input/consultation on campaigns and materials planning/design” Found the discussion group ...»

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SKILLS It can be difficult to improve skills in people as sometimes it depends on the individual. Tried in one group there but the personality wasn’t right and so were never going to get there. Might help to know ND’s backgrounds. Makes no sense to have two regional groupings, especially that aren’t working that well together. The whole “regional” business needs a review of its own. What is it that the groups and regions, especially with regional government changing. Is it right to have the “campaign” and “ND” split? Is it a false split. It’s as clear as mud to most people what an RCC or ND does. Don’t agree with some of what some others group members say about the need for staff support as groups should be self-sufficient. Comments on the removal of training etc is nonsense as they are largely self-taught. Really object to the idea that need lots of staff support in order to have a healthy network - complete opposite of groups – like they’re impotent without staff. It’s absolutely not the approach to a grassroots network. We were maybe more dependent on central research but the internet’s changed that.

–  –  –

Mentioned interest Feedback on national campaigns design of materials Local groups are different and should be given the right to be different. They work in different ways, are from different eras etc. Key thing is individuality of groups. Shouldn’t be penalised or despised for individuality. Groups are sometimes misunderstood by HQ Network Developers who don’t know groups that well. There is a huge change process at the moment and some of it’s destructive. With all the new Andy, James new people stuff we need to ensure the LG set up is understood and respected. It’s been eye-opening to A&J, not having been in groups – they didn’t understand. He’s now had his eyes opened.

Tried to help keep RCC link and regional campaign link with HQ. It was an important regional based link. Its loss is a problem. They were knowledgeable on a broad range of campaigns and history which helped groups link things together. When saw a cut from 9-4 asked otherwise but the cuts aren’t reasonable. Were mostly very long standing.

Understood regional government, political contexts of different cities and counties etc. The cuts were to do with new people coming in. Need to be careful not to lose important strata in organisation.

Your input into campaign planning and the organisation Motions should be statutory. Motions if passed should be noted. It doesn’t work now because we have centralised narrow campaigns now. There is no capacity to follow up motions because of focus on issues. Did think that motions were carefully researched and acted on if possible before the change process. We don’t now have the broad range of expertise that groups need. Groups need experts on issues like, currently, nuclear, transport etc. Narrow campaigns are not sufficient. FOE needs to be responsive. Want more expert campaign staff on a broader range of issues.

Need to stop the rot there. Motions are going in to the dust. People will lose heart. If we can’t cover an issue we should find a way for someone else to. The process at the moment: It’s vital. More time to respond might be good but it’s important. Sham it happens during summer holidays. Should be earlier to provide more time.

Motions process also acts as a eyes and ears for organisation.

Is on advisory group. Been there a long time. It’s important as long as people are listened to. Group members are not given huge amount of credibility possibly. Need to look in to group input properly. Staff should value it.

Been waiting months for a meeting on network issue. Probably change process related though. It is an active group.

Information, knowledge and skill sharing

Has a broad background and environmental campaigning has benefited from that. When out there, is using very good leaflets that were produced ages ago. It’s OK but some is out of date and some isn’t. It should be produced for groups that need them and accessed when they want them. When asked for new leaflets, the team didn’t have an up to date version. It’s an easy way to get stuff out. Often we send out oodles and oodles of different briefings – far too much for any councillor to take on. Brief leaflets will often catch the eye and people will read them. The booklets should be kept up to date. Should keep things up to date (and have an up to date date on the back). Have different groups doing different things and so don’t want one thing.

When joined the Get Serious campaign, got a mass of stuff – loads of briefings and resources. Didn’t want all of that stuff. The postcard element is tortuous and costly and impractical. HQ didn’t seem to have had much input from groups on it and so it didn’t work. Didn’t get cards back in time to use them properly. Took so long it was wasteful of time and group time. In the end just sent them off and got a special concession to get them straight back from Luton.

Feel like she’s expected to collect the cards as they’ve been sent to her.

Postcards have maybe had their day.

The group itself did two parliamentary meetings on Waste. They maybe helped influence HQ. Want FOE’s campaigns to be locally relevant and want to work on them.

Groups build up experience over time. Experience is important. Groups learn over time. Some of HQ don’t realise this. They think that they have to give groups something to do. Some that don’t do anything other than FOE campaigns probably don’t have enough to do any way. Don’t they need local things too.

Do we have enough long-standing FOE campaigners that understand long-standing FOE groups. It would help anyway.

Need to keep our varied base.

The waste list is good and useful. Could use networks to share information better.

–  –  –

Been involved in groups for five years.

Found the last regional meeting very useful. Sometimes speakers aren’t very useful as know it already. This time it was good. This time it was better. Nice to learn something new that we didn’t know before. Primarily this was on MP lobbying on Food. Were asked how to promote it better and had a good discussion including around befriending farmers.

Don’t like doing postcards but do do it. Stand outside farmers market but find people not in favour necessarily.

Maybe about 70-30 positive response on cards. Find it a bit of a chore and don’t like doing it.

Agrees it’s good to get people engaged in and involved in politics. Some people are nice and some people are very rude and that’s hard to handle.

Joined to do something interesting and meet new friends. No group in own town so joined another one.

Q: How is your group? A: The group is a bit ageing and old. Have an image problem. Interviewee is 51 and the youngest in the group. Hard to recruit younger people. Meetings are not very good - once a month in a pub. 6-8 people, same people every month. Nothing much happens. They go through an agenda and then go home. Doesn’t go any more but they have her down to attend events and stalls etc. They have asked for more interesting things to do but no one wants to do it. Don’t like street approaching.

Q: What could we do? A: Could join with other FOE groups and they thought that through but that didn’t happen.

Could have an interesting event at every meeting rather than just a planning one. Probably not much enthusiasm to change and improve the group. Two people she knows well are very enthusiastic but the rest are not.

Would do more if there were more fun things being offered. Henry and Rose would be keen to work with Valerie to rejuvenate the group. Have a few others starting to get involved. Very keen to do youth work – put in touch with Y&Ed network.

National campaigns – Big Ask was good and a great success and great for using on the street to convince people. To me that was quite exciting. It was a small thing we’d done but all over the country we’d all done it together. No idea about how to lobby MPs. Accept the postcard thing is good. Find the national stuff works fine as it is but engage depending on the level of interest they have.

Most interested in animal stuff. Climate Change still interested but less confident.

At regional event this time people were better prepared on the workshop they were presenting. Have previously felt that they weren’t well informed or keeping to time well. Have in the past found that individuals take over and rant and rave and you’ve wasted your time as a result. This time they went expecting something not exciting but were pleasantly surprised. Fed back that talks should be shorter and to the point. Feel each thing they did was useful and it kept to time better.

Don’t feel they need particular skills and training. Need more enthusiastic people and more support for getting more people involved and injecting enthusiasm.

The Big issue is: People don’t want to do anything. Only 8-8 that will do and they won’t all do much. Need to find ways to get more people and build and sustain motivation and enthusiasm. Perhaps some people just join not to be active.

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