What is a community of practice?
A community of practice is “a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” (Lave and Wenger, 1998)
Mentor wants to build a supportive community of prevention services
We will do this by looking specifically at the prevention community as a connected ecosystem that hold young people and their families at its core, as both beneficiaries and providers of key preventative measures:
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Why do we need to build a community of practice around prevention?
As part of the work carried out through ADEPIS, Mentor has explored and chronicled the most effective ways to embed evidence-based practice into mainstream education. Our findings conclude that the challenges young people face as they grow up are complex and interlinked, and addressing potential harms before they become damaging cannot be done by one organisation alone. Building a Community of Evidence-based Practice (CEP) is critical to providing quality evidence-based prevention programmes to all young people. This was confirmed during two exploratory sessions we held in 2015. During these sessions, participants discussed the reasoning behind having a CEP, effective ways of building it and tailoring it to practitioners’ needs in a way that incorporates shared aims and objectives.
What are the benefits?
The establishment of the Mentor Community of Evidence-based Practice, with its focus on prevention, will allow for shared information and experiences and collective learning which will enrich services provided to young people.
As a member of the Mentor CEP you will also be able to:
- keep abreast of the latest developments in the field of prevention, health and education;
- have the opportunity to lead on the development of new areas of work and research;
- develop a stronger network and effective collaborations in your local area.
Together we can develop best practice, build a strong evidence base of what works, involve key stakeholders in the design and delivery of programmes that work, and support each other in protecting children and young people from harm by building their self-efficacy and resilience to risk as they move through childhood and adolescence.
How will it work?
The Mentor CEP will be a network aimed at connecting practitioners, service providers and commissioners to enable the development of effective ecosystems of prevention at a local level to ensure, that by working together, we can fill existing gaps in provision.
Mentor will host an annual roundtable event to allow members of the community to meet in person. As a member, you will be urged to collaborate and build a stronger network through sharing online material and best practice and by joining webinar sessions and forums. You will also be encouraged to regularly connect with other practitioners through interactive tools that Mentor plans to develop.
Together we can develop best practice, build a strong evidence base for what works, involve different key stakeholders in both designing and delivering programmes that work, and support each other in protecting children and young people from harm by building their self-efficacy and resilience to risk as they move through childhood and adolescence.
For details of upcoming meetings of the community of evidence-based practice, click here.
Mentor CEP Chairperson: Professor Harry Sumnall
Harry is Professor of Substance Use at the Centre for Public Health and Liverpool John Moores University, and joined Mentor’s Board of Trustees in June 2015. Harry’s funded research programmes have focused, like much of Mentor’s work, on the evidence base for drug and alcohol misuse prevention, and exploring ways to implement evidence-based preventive practice and policy. His research team at Liverpool John Moores University is currently investigating a number of specialist areas, including: alcohol harm reduction and prevention; quality standards for drug prevention; understanding the factors that contribute to risky behaviours and situations, and young people’s addiction policy. As well as being a Mentor Trustee, Harry is a Board Member of the European Society for Prevention Research and a member of the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which used Mentor’s ADEPIS resources in its assessment of UK drug prevention interventions. He also reviews a number of journals relating to drug policy, psychopharmacology and substance misuse.