Working in C-ODE – our community development course 

At TDC we are committed to the delivery of good quality community development work and in respect of this, we provide a range of training programmes, such as our popular “Working in C-ODE” course.  

C-ODE stands for CommunityOrganisations, Development and Engagement – it is for anyone working in communities and results in an accredited level 2 or 3 Certificate in Community Development.  

Participants of the ‘Working in C-ODE’ course develop practical and analytical skills enabling them to work with a range of communities. They gain an understanding of community development values and purpose, working within community groups. Many participants have found it a stepping stone into employment. 

The 2016/2017 intake is made up of a diverse group of individuals all involved in community development work in some way. We spoke to participant Helen Clarke to find out about what the course entails, why she decided to learn about Working in C-ODE and how she has found it so far.  

We asked Helen a few questions… 

Which community projects are you involved with? 
For several years I have been involved in community groups in Hollingbury based at The Old Boat Corner Community Centre. I have been Chair and more lately Treasurer for Together (the charity behind Carden Tots) and in the past year I have become more involved in the Community Centre as a whole and work with a small team to promote the Centre. 
In more recent years I have coordinated the Hollingbury Healthy Neighbourhood Fund on behalf of the TDC, by pulling together a panel of local residents to ensure funding is allocated to local groups and that the funding criteria are met. 
I continue to support the Lunch Club at the Old Boat by giving them encouragement. I am a parent helper with Preston Park Youth Cycle Club and have in the past been a committee member at Dorothy Stringer PreSchool. 

Community development Training Brighton. Working in C-ODE course
Helen (second from right) sharing information at a Community Buildings Network meet-up hosted by TDC

What made you want to join the C-ODE course? 
I wanted to do the course to gain a recent qualification and to learn more about the practice of Community Development.  I have been out of full-time employment for 10 years now as I have been raising a family. Throughout that time I have been involved in several community groups and this felt like a good route for me to take. Training Co-ordinator Kaye Duerdoth explained to me that the course would enable me to be more confident about community development practices I was already doing, but didn’t realise I was doing. 
I hope that the qualification will aid me in finding employment in September once my youngest starts school. 
What form of teaching does the course incorporate?  

The teaching style of the course is varied. Tutors Helen and Kaye take in turns to teach sessions and share assessment of the assignments (which is all online). There is a wealth of knowledge provided through the online Moodle system, as well as the chance to chat with other students/tutors through the Forum. The classroom is informal, with ground rules set by the group on the first session. Helen and Kaye use various methods to engage with the group and to encourage participation; group skills work, small group discussions, big group activities, lots of flip chart group work etc. There is very little formal lecturing. They are both available to chat at any time either by email or phone and are both very approachable. 
Prior to the course we were all given a questionnaire asking about our different learning styles, ie reading, listening, watching etc. the course was then tailored to best meet the needs of everyone. 
We are also encouraged to learn from each other and to share our experiences weekly, in small groups, by reflecting on our community practice from the previous week. 
There are a number of written assignments, each around 1,500 words – with one due approximately every 5 weeks. All the information required for these assignments is provided. Learning to fit this in around everyday life can be challenging and is something that should be taken into consideration before signing up. It is possible, however good time management is useful. 
What benefits are you getting from the C-ODE course? 
The course is a huge benefit. I enjoy going and have learnt about the Community Development Process and Values and Principles and that these should be present in everything I do. Not only does it provide me with the opportunity to do something for myself after so many years of caring for young children, but it is giving me the confidence to know that I am capable. I have also made new friends and we all learn from each other and give each other encouragement. 
Who would you recommend the C-ODE course to? 
I would recommend this course to anyone who is already involved in community practice in one way or another. You do not need to be a paid employee (although some people are), you might be a volunteer, committee member, a campaigner, a community centre employee, a youth volunteer – whatever you are doing, this course is relevant to you. 
One thing that was very apparent from the beginning was how relaxed the whole group seemed to be. It was a welcoming, easy atmosphere and we all seemed to be able to speak openly with each other from day one. I am sure some of us will stay in touch after the course has finished. 

Read more about TDC’s C-ODE course here and if you are interested in taking part in a future course please register your interest by emailing [email protected].

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