Community Organisers - Big Society & Localism

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  • Roots stretch back over 90 years
  • Liberate from government, not party political or govt agenda.. community organisers are independent and operate outside formal organisational structures and remits, they are not there to implement anyone elses agenda. What might a CO actually do?: Get amongst the community at an individual, level, not working just within organisational structures. BUT, working with and across existing organisations. Recognise problems such as local loan sharks and financial exclusion and work with the community to find solutions, e.g. with credit unions. Identify things in the community that people feel close to, possibly mobilising the community to save a community building, facility, or service Identify frustrations among people where they are limited in their response to act, e.g. recycling facilities, and challenge local enterprises to minimise packaging, authorities to improve services, and local people to develop enterprising projects to increase re-use and recycling. Confront tensions in the community through dialogue, naming issues, and working across communities to develop solutions, addressing issues of community cohesion through joint action, working together on common agendas. Mobilise community through dialogue to recognise factors that are restricting their community, such as poor transport, or economic infrastructure, and organise to both influence and develop solutions. Challenge the status quo through dialogue, highlight social injustice, and question the way things are
  • Identified in Bid: Second Tranche: place based but will focus on advocacy and equalities groups, attempt to ensure equality and diversity. Incapacity, learning difficulties, faith, communities of interest, but their scope will be broad based. 100 – 200 host organisations. (depending on number of senior of organisers, each who will build up network of mid level.) Some support provided to assist host with sustainability. Reserves: Action Acton (West London) Marsh Farm (Luton) Nottingham trusts Ouseburn Trust (Newcastle) Voice4Change Kickstarters Gujurat Hindu Partners Regenerate Urban Forum Faith-based Regeneration Network Voice4Change England Church Urban Fund
  • Liberating the programme from government. Will not be owned by Locality. Handover year, of independent trading in final year of programme, supported transition. We have negotiated that intellectual capital developed through the programme will be owned by the ICO, and not the treasury as stipulated in draft contract.

Transcript

  • 1. Community Organisers
  • 2. Who we are
    • Locality is the UK’s leading network for community-led organisations. We believe that every community is a place of possibility
    • Locality was formed in April 2011 by the merger of bassac and the Development Trust Association
    • We are a movement of over 600 community-led organisations and 200 associate partners
    • Our members share their experience and knowledge through peer-to-peer networking and mutual support, working together to create and capture local wealth
    • Our members are specialists in community asset ownership, collaboration, social enterprise, commissioning, community voice and advocacy
  • 3. Community Organising
    • Locality and our partners were chosen by Government to lead the Community Organisers programme.
    • Overall aim: to give communities the power to make changes to their local neighbourhoods themselves – ‘igniting the impulse to act’. We are going to do this in a number of ways:
      • Recruit, train and host 5,000 community organisers across the country over the next four years
      • Support community organisers with a learning bursary to meet their living costs as well as free training and networking
      • Establish the Institute for Community Organising as a modern guild, a mutual owned by organisers themselves
  • 4. Vision of the Big Society
    • “ ....where people in their everyday lives, their homes their neighbourhoods, their workplace...
    • ....don’t always turn to officials, local authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face....
    • ...but instead feel both free and powerful enough to help themselves and their own communities
  • 5. What might this mean?
    • The Big Society is a partnership, and everyone has a part to play in making it a reality in all communities: citizens, government and the private and social sectors
    • Citizens take more responsibility for their communities, giving time and skills as leaders, in both traditional and new roles
    • Government will need to tear down the barriers that prevent connection and hinder services from being responsive and relevant
    • Voluntary sector organisations will need to more effectively innovate, share, and build on what works
    • Organisations, both private and public, will need to share assets and actively support their local communities
    • Enablers will be needed – more relevant information, greater access to assets, role-modelling, and supporting policy & legislation
  • 6. So…..
    • More participation in communities (social action)
    • More effective groups (community empowerment)
    • More responsive institutions (service reform)
  • 7. What are Community Organisers?
    • Skilled in bringing people together – in particular the ‘unheard’ – identifying shared issues and opportunities, finding and supporting leaders, helping them campaign, negotiate & access rights, resources & information needed to achieve ambitions.
    • Hold service providers, and others, to account
    • Help communities take action and make change
    • Community Organisers never do for others that which they can do for themselves – ‘iron rule
  • 8. What will they do?
      • ‘ Find the common ground and move forward together’ - ask people how they think their lives could be improved and find out what each of them is prepared to do
      • Build relationships, discover people’s interests, passions & talents, support the natural leaders
      • Find the power-holders and meet with them face-to-face, preferably on ‘home turf’
      • Encourage local people to tell their stories and take action to influence those in power and to gain the support of the general public
      • Helping to secure funding for local activities and their own work
  • 9. How will they work with communities ?
      • Identify gaps or failings in services provided by the state or others
      • Mobilising community support to tackle these gaps or failings locally
      • Helping people to start groups and charities, revitalize existing
      • Enhancing social capital and strengthening interactions between all parts of the community
      • Liaising with civil society organisations, the state and the community
  • 10. 11 Kickstarters
    • Barton Hill Settlement - Bristol
    • Birmingham Settlement - Birmingham
    • Cambridge House - South London
    • Community Links - East London
    • Goodwin Development Trust - Hull
    • Keystone Development Trust - Eastern Counties
    • Kirkgate Arts - Cumbria
    • Manchester Metropolitan University - Manchester
    • Marsh Farm Outreach - Luton
    • Penwith CDT - Cornwall
    • St Peter ’ s Partnerships - Tameside
  • 11. Institute for Community Organising
    • A 21 st century Guild, a professional body assuring quality and providing ongoing training and support
    • A mutual – owned by COs themselves
    • Shares retained each year that they maintain their CPD (ie stay active and engaged)
    • Brand developed in parallel with the programme, with a year of independent trading in 2014-15
  • 12. Timescales
    • Feb-April: Development
    • July: kickstarter training begins
    • Nov: second tranche starts
    • Feb 2012: training cascaded to further hosts, rolling programme to March 2015.
    • ICO Year of Trading / handover (Apr 14-Mar 15)
    • Closure (Mar-Jun 15) – ICO operating independently
  • 13. Information and updates
      • http://locality.org.uk/projects/community-organisers/
      • Twitter - @corganisers, #corg and #communityorganisers
      • Blog – see http://jesssteele.wordpress.com/
      • www.pcdt.org
      • www.bartonhillsettlement.org.uk
      • [email_address] ; 07825 175873