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…