Civil Society Australia
 Australia's Peak Body for Civil Society

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A 12month program for community people to develop and exercise social leadership.
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You can take charge of your social support, education and health care through a personal budget.
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Making a difference in our not-for-profits.
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up people who live in the same street or nearby to build community by doing amazing things with and for each other - on a national scale.
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"The Left and Right have been as bad as each other. The Left has allowed its distrust of markets and endless faith in government to obscure the importance of civil society. The Right has been so focused on replacing the state with markets that it has forgotten how to cultivate a trusting society.

This is the politics of the absurd. The Left identifies with the good society but rarely talks about the mutualism and trust between people. The Right recognises the importance of moral obligation but gives the impression of trusting market transactions more than civil society.

Few things seem to happen anymore without a government law or market transaction to guide them. This is how record levels of GDP in Australia now sit alongside record levels of crime, social stress and family  breakdown. The political balance needs to swing back towards civil society.

This task, in fact, requires a new type of politics."

Mark Latham, Mutualism: A Third Way for Australia," 1999.

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Circles of Support are a tool to make social inclusion work for people with disabilities, mental illnesses, vulnerable children and families, single young parents, and others struggling with social isolation.
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Social Leadership Development Program

Applications are invited for participants in the Social Leadership Development Program.

This is a twelve month program for people in communities around Australia who want to develop and exercise social leadership, that is, leadership in strengthening society and in finding solutions to social challenges.

The Program runs from 1st May 2011 to 30th April 2012. Places are limited.

Participants must nominate two social challenges they will work on over the course of the twelve month period. The Program aims to provide resources and support to participants in developing and exercising leadership in finding solutions to these challenges, through both public policy change and social innovation.

A strict selection criteria applies. An application form is available here.

Is this for you?

This is a leadership development program for people in civil society - in their capacity as community members, residents, parents, carers, consumers, users of public services and volunteers.

It is NOT a management training course for employees or managers of not-for-profits. It is a program for the development of leadership in strengthening our life in community, for people who take their community, familial and social relationships seriously. [Participants may or may not have a paid job in areas related to their social interests - that does not matter. The focus is on the strengthening of society and the search for effective social solutions, not on the conduct or performance of a person's professional role.]

Eligible participants must meet four criteria:

1. face challenges in their personal, family, community or social circumstances for which innovative social solutions are required (participants must nominate two such challenges);
2. are working with peers and colleagues in a voluntary capacity in seeking these solutions;

3. have an interest in acquiring new ideas, approaches, insights and skills, and learning from others; and

4. want to exercise leadership in assisting others in developing solutions.
Participants will be drawn from various parts of Australia. In group learning and interaction, there will be a deliberate effort to break down state or territory-based ways of thinking and doing by drawing on interstate and international perspectives.

Participants are required to nominate two key challenges that they are facing at the start of the program, and with other participants will undertake a shared search for solutions to these challenges as they move through the year.

[Areas in which participants may be facing social challenges and seeking social solutions may include, but are not restricted to: health, ageing, disability, mental health, education, schooling, training and employment; self-employment, child and adolescent formation, child care, parenting, young adulthood, loneliness, social isolation, supported living, personal and community safety; indigenous well-being; addiction, cultural identity, cultural cohesion, rural community, natural disaster risk, mobility and transport.]

What will it do?

The program will consist of five components:

1. Two residential weekends for vision, learning and skill development (August and January);
2. Online learning with a focus on Australian and international experiences, case studies and models;

3. Shared group input into two social challenges nominated by each participant over the course of the 12 months;

4. Unlimited telephone and online support in seeking solutions for the nominated challenges; and

5.Occasional forums, dinners and meetings.

The online learning component will comprise material on key concepts and frameworks in social thought and innovation; case studies of individuals and groups tackling social challenges and finding solutions; and working solutions which might serve as models for others. Opportunities for group discussion of these materials will be provided through the twelve months.

The Program Director is Vern Hughes.

Vern has been a writer, practitioner and networker in social enterprise, church, community, and co-operative movements for 30 years. He is a former CEO of Westgate Health Cooperative (Australia's only consumer-owned primary health centre); Director of Hotham Mission in the Uniting Church; Founder of the Social Entrepreneurs Network (Australia and New Zealand); Executive Secretary of the Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament; and Director of the Cooperative Federation of Victoria.

How much does it cost?

There is a Registration Fee and incidental Event Fees.

The Registration Fee of $440 includes:

- resource materials and access to the online learning program;
- online networking connections; and
- unlimited telephone support over the course of the twelve months.

The Event Fees includes:

- accommodation, meals and incidental costs for each of the residential weekends; and
- meals and incidental costs for occasional forums, dinners and meetings.

Transport costs to and from the residential weekends, tours and other events, are the participants' expense.

The two residential weekends will be conducted in locations that suit the majority of the participants, and their likely travel arrangements. They will not necessarily be in Melbourne or Sydney.

Participation in the residential weekends and events is optional, since some participants, especially in remote locations, may not be able to attend these events but will still participate in other aspects of the Program. Participants are strongly encouraged, however, to attend at least one of the August or January residential weekends.

Prospective participants are encouraged to seek a Sponsor to meet the cost of participation in the program, and/or the various event fees, if they are unable or unwilling to self-fund.

Sponsors may be:

1. Charitable bodies; service clubs; or corporates;
2. Service providers or advocacy organisations;
3. Government agencies.

Participants may self-fund. There is no obligation to have a Sponsor.
How do I register?

An online registration form is available here.

Applicant should note the four criteria for selection in the program, and should outline in the online form how they meet these criteria and how they expect to benefit from the program. The names of two referees are also required.

Further information:

Vern Hughes
PO Box 159 Yarraville Vic 3013
Tel: 03 5629 8400
Mob: 0425 722 890


  Centre for Civil Society 2011

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We bring people together in 150 local divisions around Australia to work locally in representing and empowering civil society.
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Charlie Leadbeater, Jamie Bartlett and Niamh Gallagher have authored this highly influential Demos Report on Self-Directed Services and Personal Budgets.
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