Pam’s report from the National Parks and Wellbeing conference held 21-23 April 2015

National Parks and Wellbeing conference

National Parks and Wellbeing conference (Image:

2014 was the year when many big conversations that matter were hosted across Wales. Fran and I were privileged to be involved in many of these and it was against this backdrop that I found myself in the heart of the beautiful Snowdonia National Park on 21st April.

Co-hosting a session at the National Parks and Wellbeing conference

The aims of the National Parks and Wellbeing conference were to discuss and to share knowledge, evidence-base and case studies which link human health outcomes with National Park objectives; recreational and educational use of the outdoors; wildlife gardening and biodiversity.

I’d met with Dr Ambra Burls in Autumn 2014 to support her plans for the second National Parks Health and Wellbeing conference 2015. I was able to share some of the insights gained from our 9 coproduction meetups and other conversations. I also recommended she invite Diana Reynolds, Welsh Government, to demonstrate her “Three Question Chairing” method at the conference. Diana and I had successfully used this method to co-host two WWNT ‘mini meet-up’ ‘Co-production, Primary Care and the Environment conversations.

A few days before the start of conference call from Diana asking if I could step into her shoes to co-facilitate the three question chairing workshop with Kate Hamilton… This was an exciting opportunity to discuss in more depth how health could connect with the national parks, and with the environment. A theme Fran and I had seen emerging in many areas of our work, and the link with improved wellbeing, which was reflected in the conference’s purpose:

  • How can we help National Parks (and also Areas of Natural Beauty-AONB, Protected Areas, Town Parks etc.) develop a full consciousness and proactive will to be health & wellbeing providers/resources/green prescriptions agents?
  • How can we help Health providers to develop a full consciousness & proactive will to ‘allow’ National Parks (+others) to become legitimate health resources & green prescriptions agents?
  • How can we help the two sides develop trust and engage with one another to develop that consciousness?

So. what is three question chairing?

Diana first mentioned this new (co-production) method, that she was trialing within Welsh Government departments to chair meetings. It resonated with my training in World Cafe conversations and its approach to dialogue – inclusive conversations resulting in actions! (more of this in a future blog)

Diana described it as “a way of increasing focus, effectiveness and practical outcomes for any meeting. The chair (convenor or facilitator) simply asks three, well prepared, questions.

Question 1: The aim of question one is to start the conversation, deep in the middle and with good listening. Each person in the room is invited to introduce themselves by answering this question, starting with whoever is ready first.

Question 2: The aim of question two is to deepen our joint understanding of the topic on which we need to make decisions or take action.
This is a specific open question to everyone in the room… Other questions/ answers will develop during this stage of the conversation. Make sure quieter voices are invited to join in.

Question 3: The aim of question three is to bring us back to action.

Once everyone has decided what they will do together, you may want to ask one more question; How will we invite others to join in?

Connecting health and the environment

Day one of conference arrived and it was a beautiful clear blue sky morning as I drove to Maentwrog. The session went really well, we focused on these 3 questions:

Q1. What inspires you to do the work that you do?

Q2. What is holding me back and how can we help each other overcome these barriers?

Q3. What new habit can I nurture in myself

… and if time allows: What new habit can I help others to nurture?

What stood out?

@Fran_Ohara asked me if I’d had any insights from our session and my 2 days at the conference… a few things stood out

  • There’s no shortage of passionate people, excellent ideas, great projects that deliver and provide evidence of wellbeing outcomes
  • There was an absence of delegates from the health sector
  • What struck home was that greatest challenges remain in finding effective ways to join-up / work across / work between different sectors.
  • Many of the conversations alluded to the difficulties associated with creating successful collaborative working, building relationships and partnerships etc…these continue to raise real barriers to effecting change.
  • A recurring theme during the conversations was the need to find effective ways to re-direct funding. The ‘Green Prescriptions’ example from Scotland provided a useful model to examine how this was achieved.

Whats next?

I heard many excellent presentations from as far afield as Australia and Sweden however the highlights for me were:

  • hearing GP, Dr James Fleming, talk about how he set up the Green Dreams project at his general practice in Burnley and which has now spread to 17 other practices.
  • meeting Kevin Lafferty, Forestry Commission Scotland+NHS Scotland, whose presentation “Green Prescriptions” shared four partnership projects including ‘Branching Out’ green space and conservation on referral, and a woodland activity programme for people living with early stage dementia.
  • Ed Rosen sharing ideas from the Lambeth GP food co-operative, a food growing project.

I’m delighted to say that they’ve each accepted an invitation to return to Wales to join one of our future WWNT ‘Meet-Ups’ – so watch out for announcements!

My main ‘take-away’ was that the environment projects highlighted great wellbeing outcomes yet many struggled to find ways to fund, spread and sustain these innovative cross sector initiatives. It feels an important conversation to host. What do you think? Be great to have your thoughts about this.

Pam Luckock, Director, ‘Working With Not To’ Coproduction Project.



‘Working With Not To’ Update 18/11

Eddie Bartnik’s conference ‘Leadership & Co-Production’ presentation visual minutes


A good question! We have been working on the Working With Not To’ project since May which is less than 6 months, and it has grown bigger and quicker than we could have hoped or anticipated. Mainly due to the ‘gate-openers’ who have stepped forward and share the project with their connections, opened gates, doors and new opportunities. So its genuinely been a co-produced project, at times its been messy, complex and we’ve felt out of our comfort zones and definitely in uncomfortable zones! We’ve also had meetings and been to several great events across Wales which show that co-production is really growing.

Now the project foundations are in place, and we are glad we waited for the outcomes from each meet-up and meeting to define our next action. As there are no models for this or many other co-production projects, the current economic climate and the financial imperative needs new ways of working and thinking differently. Now we have the website and materials, and a growing coproduction community to learn and define new processes and ways together.

We’ve been getting our foundations in place…
We are sourcing funding to make the site bilingual and accessible, and to set-up accredited training; its taking time but its all part of the process of identifying how to do things and assets so we can build something of quality and sustainable. We’re looking for freelance consultant who is Welsh-speaking, based in N Wales and has some experience of event management – please email us if you have any suggestions.

Meet-up 3
The final agenda for meet-up 3 has been confirmed, and its looking like a great event, a great mix of speakers and interactive sessions where participants share their views, knowledge and assets. So far our attendees include representatives from: Disability Wales, Barod, CTA, WCVA, CAB, Community Voice, Making the Connections, Gwynedd, Denbighshire, and Wrexham County Councils, Golygfa Gwydyr, RVS, Cymryd Rhan, Age Connects NWW, CVSC and Stroke Assoc. To read and book please CLICK HERE

Meet-up(s) 4 & 5
Plans are already in place for two meet-ups late January, one in NW Wales hosted by Gwynedd County Council, and one in NW Wales hopefully in the Flintshire area. At the moment we are thinking of BIG meet-up in late March where people from both meet-ups feedback their conversations and actions, learning from each other and identifying case studies and new models. Please contact us if you wish to be part of these.

World Cafés & Events
Over the next month we have be invited to work with several organisations in N Wales to facilitate events, big conversations and World Cafés. Including Public Health North Wales, RAF Valley, Gwynedd Social Enterprise Forum, Anglesey LSB and Denbighshire County Council Social Care. Pam has just completed her online World Café accreditation bring a huge number of new methods and ideas, making the conversations deeper and bigger – can’t wait!

Visual Minutes and hand-drawn video
Fran and her team created visual minutes at the recent ‘Co-production – what it means for Health and Social Care Services’ event in Newport on 12/11/13, with Eddie Bartnik as keynote sharing some great insights on methodology and leadership and coproduction.

We will share these in the near future. At the Co-production event on 11/11/13 the LAC hand-drawn video Fran created with Monmouthshire County Council was shown – it demonstrates how Monmouthshire have changed how they do things, and put what matters to people at the heart of their work.

That’s all for now, we’re publishing our first newsletter in a couple of days which will have more information and updates. We hope to see you at Meet-up 3 next week!