Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

April 10, 2013

The power of peer to peer learning

One of the many benefits of joining a community based network is that it becomes a two way relationship. While expected to freely share your expertise and knowledge with others in the network, you can be sure to receive just as much if not more in return.  Ian Cooke of DTAS is asking for help with a research project, looking into all the different kinds of peer to peer learning that take place.  This is greatly undervalued strength of our sector that should be recognised more widely.



I am writing to all supporters of the Scottish Community Alliance to both draw your attention to, and enlist your support with, the above research.

DTAS members and board have always recognised the value of, and called for more resourcing for, peer learning and support programmes. Given that much of the work of community-led networks in Scotland is premised on the fact that a great deal of the knowledge and expertise lies within our member organisations, I would imagine that this is a view shared by most of you, and some networks  (such as Community Woodland Association) have successfully managed to fund this kind of activity.

We feel that despite the community sector having consistently made the case for peer learning and support, the largely untapped potential of this resource seldom gets the recognition it deserves, and there is, consequentially, limited funding to support peer learning and support activity. 

Encouragingly, the issue has been recently picked up by the BIG Lottery at a UK level, who have commissioned our sister organisation – Locality – to carry out research across the UK. DTAS has agreed to help capture some of the Scottish experience, and would appreciate any support you can give us in the following 2 ways:

1. Locality is keen to capture the experiences of small (turnover £50k-£200k) community organisations and have set up an on-line survey – Complete the survey . It would be great if those of you who put out regular member bulletins could promote this link and encourage members to take part in the survey

2. DTAS has also been asked to identify a number of bigger Scottish case studies. The Knowledge and Skills Fund which we ran through Local People Leading a couple of years ago and CWA’s ‘member delivered’ training programme are 2 examples which immediately spring to mind, but if you can think of any others, please let me know.

I have attached some general information about the research which Locality has provided to assist you in this process. You can access this information here

This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of Peer Learning and Support and get it properly resourced, so any support would be much appreciated.

Best wishes


Ian Cooke


Development Trusts Association Scotland

54 Manor Place, Edinburgh, EH3 7EH

Tel:    0131 220 2456


Development Trusts Association Scotland is a registered Scottish charity no. SCO34231