We use facilitation to mean helping a group to work together effectively both in terms of doing the exercises and discussions in the meetings, and more importantly in supporting each other to engage emotionally as well as intellectually with the material and each other.
In order to run each Footpaths group requires at least two participants to do our two day facilitation training. Although they are then the official facilitators for the group, Footpaths was designed in the hope that the whole group would share the responsibilities of making it work well, and for this reason the facilitation points are included in the handbook which everyone receives.
The training allows the facilitators time to develop their facilitation skills; think about their strengths and weaknesses as facilitators; practise facilitating with feedback; look at the Footpaths materials which will be used in the meetings and get a sense of the Footpaths ethos of giving participants the space and support to make their own decisions and lifestyle changes – not pushing them to do what we think needs doing. It also allows them to get to know each other and think about power and status within groups and the impacts it can have.