Thank you all for being so nice about the blog and for retweeting. It seems obvious to me that programmes should be open and engaging. I’m just grateful that there’s a ‘modern’ way to reach (potentially) lots of people that doesn’t involve trains (having spent a fair few hours on them this week).
The ‘problem’ with openness is that at times, perhaps often, we will disagree and I will have to listen and think and respond…
An example – several people have said that we shouldn’t use the phrase ‘indigenous English’ because it has been claimed so damnably by the BNP. I find that sad, particularly because I took the word from the fantastic and very diverse Marsh Farm Outreach team in Luton who use it to describe themselves and more generally local people on the estate.
See this brave reclamation of the St George flag by the mixed community of Ashton in Tameside. Karen gave the flag this week and it fits my map well (with apologies to Scotland). The eagle-eyed may be able to spot the Cat of Glory who keeps me entertained when I’m studying routes around the country.
But I’ll take your advice – mainly because someone has come up with a constructive alternative – ‘home-grown’! Your wish is my command…we’ll sort it tomorrow.
However, and more seriously, there are some principles embedded in our bid and emerging strongly in the programme development, that I will cleave to:
- Organisers listen to people and encourage dialogue. They do not bring any message or seek any specific outcome.
- Consciousness-raising rather than capacity-building. Find the ‘generative themes’ that motivate people to act. Change ‘the bad scene’ into a specific set of issues that people can take action around.
- Actions may aim to change the powerful or to create a DIY/entrepreneurial response, or both. Mobilise: Listen, Talk, Act, Reflect.
- COs need a place to be. The hosting approach brings mutual benefits and mutual challenges. It liberates the Community Organisers programme from government and roots it in communities not just for a while but for the long-term.
That’ll do for now. Plenty more thoughts but these are some key principles.
Quick review of the week… (for those of you who don’t know me but might be interested, I also do a few other things, including Meanwhile, Seaside Towns Enterprise Partnership, the Pool, Community Allowance, Community Sector Trading, Land & Society Commission, and Hastings Pier)
Sun: Twitter catch-up. Digital networking survey sent to all partners and Locality staff.
(Anyone else with an interest in the programme, please feel free to complete and return to me, although I can’t promise to organise digital buddies for everyone!)
Mon/Tues: Locality Team Days. Briefed the whole team about the programme. Prepared support briefs for Locality team members to work with me, particularly on the hosting and training threads within the programme. Caught up with Sarah Eustace who is leading on the social networking side. Meanwhile, Newsnight were filming with Re:generate in Bath.
Weds: filming with Newsnight at the wonderful St Peter’s Partnerships (Kickstarter) in Tameside. Met with Niall Cooper from Church Action on Poverty, and later with adult education specialists, Walt Crowson and Bernard Godding in Manchester.
Thurs: CO presentation for Adult Education conference in Manchester, then off to Wolverhampton to facilitate a small action learning set of Communitybuilders applicants (who were keen to know more about CO). Long trek back to Hastings to give my daughter a cuddle.
Tomorrow: Meet up with Mark Parker, ex of bassac, now doing a Masters in Community Organising at Queen Mary’s, and then settle in for an intensive overnight session with Stephen & Julia of Re:generate to hammer out initial details of the training framework.
See the presentation I gave today here.
Please keep commenting – makes me feel I’m not just launching this into a void!