Action learning from North East Together to start in June

North East Together, the network for social change that promotes collaborative and collective leadership, is offering free action learning sets to give you time and space to think, plan, take action and learn with your peers, to work through current problems and prepare for the future. 

The action learning sets are being run by North East Together members Duncan O’Brien, Robert Laycock and Stephanie Cole for North East Together members, to help them cope with, and respond well, to what is happening now around Covid-19. 

While taking part in an action learning set we start with a simple intention: to start sharing and exploring together, and in doing so give ourselves monthly moments of safe space and time to restore our energy, gain clarity of our challenges and take action from a grounded state of mind. 

What is action learning? 

Action learning sets are confidential and safe spaces to explore topics and subjects that are important to you with support from peers and with guidance from a skilled and experienced facilitator. Action learning is "…a continuous process of learning and reflection, supported by colleagues, with an intention of getting things done.” (McGill and Beaty 2001). You can read more about action learning, including how each session works, in this information booklet.

Who is it for? 

The action learning sets are for social leaders – people living, working or volunteering for social change – in the North East region. This is for you if you are open to learning from and with others by sharing, listening, asking questions and, ultimately, taking clear-minded, well-grounded action. 

North East Together aims to create mixed groups, which means you may not be with people with the same role as you, as diversity brings strength and gives us the opportunity to share our unique experiences from within the sector but also to remind ourselves of where we've been and who we may want to become in future.

The offer 

Three action learning sets are offered, each made up four to six people coming together online in six sessions between June and November 2020 (or June and December with a break in August), led by an action learning set facilitator in training. Each action learning set session will include checking in, co-creating the session’s agenda, reviewing actions from the previous session, working together on chosen issues (usually two or three issues per session), and reviewing the session. 

The dates are:

Set one, run by Duncan on Tuesdays, 10am to 2pm on June 23rd, July 7th, August* 4th, September 8th, October 6th, November 3rd and December* 1st.

Set two, run by Robert on Wednesdays, 10am to 2pm on June 24th, July 8th, September 9th, October 7th, November 4th and December 2nd.

Set three, run by Stephanie, on Thursdays, 10am to 2pm on June 18th, July 9th, August* 6th, September 10th, October 8th, November 5th and December* 3rd.

*Once you join your set, together we’ll agree whether to meet in August or in December.

If you’d like to join one of the three sets, we ask you to commit to attending all the dates for that set. We know things will crop up that you don’t know about now but please only apply to join a set if the dates are clear for you now and you’re willing to prioritise the set when adding new things to your calendar. 

To join, fill in this simple form by May 18th, 2020: Please complete this form no later than Monday 18 May 2020. North East Together will be in touch no later than May 29th to confirm your place and explain next steps.

If you’d like to find out more before signing up, email Duncan at, Robert at, or Stephanie at