Recruitment underway

After long and tiresome delays regarding the tax and employment status of Community Organisers, we are delighted that our Kickstarters have now begun the recruitment of the first cohort of 30-40 organisers.

Community organisers will listen to residents in their homes, on the street and where they gather, and they will listen to public service and third sector workers, small businesses and local institutions to help develop their collective power to act together for the common good, as identified locally. There is much more information about the why and how of broad-based neighbourhood organising on the Locality website

As planned, to maximise the learning from this ‘discovery phase’, each of the 11 Kickstarters is taking a different approach. The majority are undertaking open recruitment processes targeted within the local areas they have identified for community organising. Two in particular are doing it differently. Manchester Metropolitan University was chosen as a Kickstarter to test a specific approach in which students on the BA in Social Change (mainly mature students, including many women returning to study after bringing up families) will take the next step by training as Community Organisers. Marsh Farm Outreach in Luton is also quite different in that they are one of the very few organisations in the country that can genuinely say they have been ‘doing’ community organising for many years. The recruitment of their team was undertaken some years ago in an open, fair and very innovative process where applicants themselves decided the outcome collaboratively. They have been working together to progress the only Organisation Workshop in the UK, based on a model developed by Clodomir Santos de Morais, a co-prisoner of Paulo Freire in Brazil. Now the team will train in Foundations of Organising, using the ‘Root Solution Listening Matters’ approach developed over 20 years by Re:generate to enhance, expand and reflect on their own experience.

If you live in one of the Kickstarter areas and would like to find out more about the training programme, please contact their recruitment leader directly (details for each are given here).

These Kickstarters are just the first 11 of more than 100 community hosts from all over the country who will be involved in the Community Organisers programme over the next four years.

Next week we will be launching the recruitment for future hosts and by the autumn the next tranche of hosts will be recruiting Community Organisers in other parts of the country. Watch this space…

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5 Responses to Recruitment underway

  1. kokub sheikh says:

    Hi
    I would like to receive on-going information on Locality and would love to be a member of this fantastic project.

    My contact details: Kokub Sheikh
    Email: kokubs@talk21.com.

    Thank you and I look forwards to receiving regular information.

  2. Spencer Woodcock says:

    I find the MMU thing very puzzling indeed. I thought that the idea of the Community Organisers was that they would galvinise their own local communities? Surely restricting the recruitment to graduates and students is the antithesis of this? How will it work? How is parachuting graduates into areas to organise them anything to do with nurturing local communities?

    • jesssteele says:

      Hi Spencer

      MMU have been recruiting from their graduates – most of whom are mature students, many with families of their own – who will then train as community organisers in their own communities within Manchester – there is no ‘parachuting’ going on at all. Students and ex-students also live in communities and there is no reason why they should not be as good as anyone else at galvanising their communities.

      The inclusion of MMU as one of our 11 Kickstarters (pioneer hosts who are helping us to shape the programme) is important because it allows us to test out the approach of using a committed HE institution which is currently the only way we are allowed to allocate the full bursary amount as a tax-free bursary as originally envisaged. However, all of the rest of the Kickstarters are locally-rooted community organisations and we expect the vast majority of future hosts to be local community organisations.

      We feel it is important to be open to a range of different ways in which the Community Organiser programme can be delivered. We will obviously be paying close attention to the benefits and disbenefits of each approach – not to come down on one ‘side’ or another but to learn what works best in what contexts.

      The recruitment of future hosts for the programme is underway – see http://www.cocollaborative.org.uk/resource/become-host for details. The first deadline (to be considered for the next cohort) is 19 August, but the process will remain open throughout the programme and we will be selecting cohorts of hosts every 2-3 months until March 2015.

  3. I live in the Moston Ward of North Manchester, which is adjacent to Harpurhey, and was dissapointed to discover Manchester Metropolitan University had adopted the approach mentioned above. While I understand the need to investigate the effectiveness of different approaches, I feel it is also worthwhile to extend this opportunity to grass roots community initiatives that operate in the heart of disadvantaged communities in Manchester. Is there a plan to distribute these vital placements evenly across the Manchester Wards? and will it be biased on a need basis like the ‘child poverty index’? Will everyone interested in becoming a community organiser be able to register themselves for consideration? I would like to register myself as a would-be community organiser for my Ward, but there is not yet any way for me to do this.

    • jesssteele says:

      Dear Jerome. Sorry to be so slow to ‘approve’ your comments. It’s been a busy time and sometimes I slip back into pre-blog mode and simply forget all about it for a week (not very 21st century I know!)
      I understand your concerns for Manchester which, of course, could and will benefit from far more community organisers than are available through the ‘Kickstarter’ hosts. We are selecting 10-12 new hosts every three months who will each recruit 2-5 new local community organisers to join the programme. We always look for a combination of ‘quality hosts’ (those who understand what the programme is trying to achieve and can provide good support without interfering in the grassroots work) and geographic spread to reach a range of neighbourhoods across England, prioritising areas of higher deprivation and recognising that this particular programme will not achieve full ‘coverage’ of every place. We are interested in different ways to nurture a home-grown movement of community organising in the larger cities, including through hosts collaborating together. You can find out lots more detail about the approach and the latest news at http://www.cocollaborative.org.uk.

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