ETF Housing Blog

Learning to Lead, Creating Community Impact

Struggling to think of examples of good leaders in the world right now? Then you might be happy to hear that you only need to look to our tenants’ groups in Edinburgh to find inspiring leaders… although they may not realise it.

Last week we had 16 tenants’ representatives come together to discuss, share and explore their leadership strengths and values. Over the next three months they will start to develop community action ideas and learn tools to help improve engagement within their community groups.  The programme is about working to support and empower tenants’ groups to engage, motivate and communicate even more effectively on behalf of residents.

“With over 1000 years of experience in the room, the knowledge and wisdom that is being shared is phenomenal. We provide the framework of the programme, however it is what the group puts in that makes the difference” Luci Jones, Social Enterprise Academy Tutor.

The group quickly identified some recurring key themes i.e. a growing amount of elderly people living in isolation and issues of negativity, complacency and lack of engagement within their tenant communities.

These issues provide challenges, as well as opportunities and through this programme the tenants will focus on positive strategies and build upon the strengths of their communities. One tool that Luci will help the group to make use of will be a community based approach called ‘Appreciative Inquiry.’  This is based on four key areas:

  1. Discovery – inquire into the best of what has happened in the past and the present. Look at the positives of what has worked well in each of your communities and its strengths.
  2. Dream – use these findings and each other’s stories and experiences to create a compelling, memorable and ambitious picture of the ideal future.
  3. Design – determine what the future could be and work out how to get there through the sharing of ideas, experience and problem-solving.
  4. Destiny – put your plan into action and use the tools you’ve learned along the way to encourage people within your community to get involved.

Sitting in on the first morning of this programme it is clear there is real enthusiasm and positive ideas on how to create change within our local communities. One of the key goals of leadership is empowering others to find their voice but first of all it is important to ensure that we are supporting our active community members to recognise themselves as leaders.  Looking around the room it is great to see such a diverse group, who are of all ages and have seized the opportunity to develop themselves, as well as use this experience to unlock the potential of their community at the grassroots level.

Marie Duguid, Social Enterprise Academy


This programme is delivered by the Social Enterprise Academy in partnership with Edinburgh Tenants Federation and Trust Housing Association. We also give thanks to OneCity Trust and the Scottish Government for enabling us to provide bursary support to learners for this programme.

Marie Duguid, Business Development Officer at Social Enterprise Academy (SEA), works with partner organisations such as ETF to deliver valuable learning and development programmes to address local needs and create social change in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Social Enterprise Academy is a social enterprise delivering learning and development programme for people and organisations working for social purpose.




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