Recently, UP were delighted to be contracted by Iwan Thomas, CEO at PLANED, to deliver a series of webinars designed to support his team in relation to the onset of COVID-19 and the radical changes that have and will arise going forward. 

Who are PLANED?

PLANED, based locally in Pembrokeshire, is a community-led partnership established as a social enterprise, a Development Trust, a charity, and a company limited by guarantee, with its Board members being representatives from communities and from the public and private sectors. They have over 30 years’ experience of implementing integrated rural development through supporting enterprise, sustainable agriculture and tourism, heritage and environmental activities, through community engagement and participation.

PLANED encourage a community culture of enterprise supporting people to harness their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm –to safeguard their future. They achieve this through delivering locally tailored initiatives, which build on existing community strengths and empower local people, while ensuring effort in one area of development adds value to other areas.

PLANED are an organisation that works with geographic communities and communities of interest to identify, develop and implement sustainable projects that improve the wellbeing of the community with a focus on long-term, integrated, collaborative actions.

Sharing Experiences of Change, Learning Coping Strategies and Changing the Future Together

PLANED has experienced significant change already in recent months. However, the change brought about due to the pandemic is unprecedented. Iwan therefore had the foresight to engage with UP to ensure the wellbeing of his team was supported.

The interactive webinar series focused on some key points:

1. Understanding the speed of change in recent weeks and the emotions it generates amongst people;

2. Realising that it is okay to experience such emotions;

3. Coping strategies to deal with isolation at home in terms of both the individual and the work context;

4. Reflecting on past changes at PLANED;

5. Understanding how to implement change successfully by taking colleagues with you;

6. Opening minds to future change within PLANED.

UP were really pleased with the level of interaction amongst the team of fourteen who contributed, the feedback and positive outcomes regarding future change at PLANED.

What was Iwan’s feedback following the Interactive Webinar Series?

UP caught up with Iwan following completion of the webinar series to gather his feedback. This is what Iwan said.

Why did you engage with Dave at UP?

“We wanted to work with someone who was both qualified and local within West Wales, as this was important to have someone with local knowledge and points of reference, that in addition to the expertise, would also provide confidence to colleagues across the team”.

What were you looking for UP to deliver?

“We identified that some members of the team would benefit from some independent advice and support during the lockdown and the changes in working practices. We wanted to provide some tools to assist, and to challenge potential issues they were facing, or had convinced themselves were an issue, when the reality was not potentially as bad as it may have seemed”.

How was it received?

“The overwhelming majority of the team embraced the sessions, and welcomed having this additional support for them during this time. Only a small number of the team decided not to engage, and that has to be respected, even though sometimes with these offers of support, those who need it most can be those who choose not to participate”.

In terms of value, what are the short term benefits?

“The team came together during the sessions to share their views and experiences in an open and honest way, and provided further support for each other, in addition to what they were already doing working together collectively during the lockdown. through new mediums and approaches”.

What do you expect the longer term benefits to be?

“I am confident that we will further develop as a flexible organisation that continues to support each other as a team. Members of the team who have worked here for many years note that the current team in PLANED is the strongest the organisation has had – and this positivity and more genuine care for each others welfare and that of our work, is certainly more obvious. Having time to think and be challenged positively during these sessions will enable us to think wider, more broadly, and more collectively as a single team in the longer term, and builds on the positive work already put in place during the last 12 months particularly”.

What value could UP bring to PLANED going forward?

“The outcomes of the current suite of sessions has enabled us to take stock of how we deal with events like the lockdown. It also allows us to reflect on how we continue to evolve and adapt as a team, and as an organisation. Additional value will likely become further clear on a revisit session later in the year to see how we all continue to adapt and evolve with dealing with whatever wider circumstances follow on from COVID19″.

UP looks forward to developing the relationship further later in the year and enabling Iwan to bring further value and development to PLANED and the team.

Diolch Iwan, diolch PLANED!

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