The Company of Community Organisers (COLtd) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)has established a unique network of local ‘Social Action Hubs’ supporting grass-roots social action through neighbourhood community organising.
Social Action Hubs are locally rooted community organisations – often charities – which support people to contribute to and create a better community and build a more democratic society.
COLtd is working with partner organisations from the statutory and third sectors to expand the community organising movement, for example, the National Citizen Service (NCS), Supporters Direct and Neighbourhood Watch.
Supporting social action is a vital role for local charities, who are close to the people they serve and better able to listen to people and foster grass-roots action than large national organisations or councils.
20 Social Action Hubs across England are supported as part of the Community Organisers Expansion Programme (2017-2020). The Programme is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and led by Community Organisers Ltd.
The Hubs act as a catalyst for action, training local people, members of the public sector and young people in community organising and supporting them to listen, reach out, bring people together and take collective action.
The Programme will see 3500 people trained in community organising across England and supported to ignite social action. People who want to make their community stronger, their government and public services more accountable and their society fairer.
Community organising is the work of bringing people together to take action around their common concerns and overcome social injustice. Practitioners reach out and listen, connect and motivate people to build their collective power.
In areas where community organising takes place, people have a stronger sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, feel more valued and are motivated to work together to improve lives and transform where they live.
High Trees Community Development Trust is one of four Social Action Hubs in London and one of twenty in England involved in the Programme. They will train 100 local people in community organising over three years. This will lead to a stronger community, more grass-roots leaders and more people able to influence local change.
High Trees Development Trust is an established community charity which has been providing vital local services for 19 years in an area of multiple deprivation. These include community development, accredited training and children’s play. High Trees Development Trust have employed community organisers since 2013 and have changed the way they work as a result. Staff have been trained to listen better to local people and support them to influence local services, create new associations and take action in support of their rights. Examples include community action on housing regeneration, youth forums, tenants and residents’ associations and neighbourhood planning.
Anyone who is interested in getting training in community organising so they can ignite social action in their community should get in touch with COLtd.
One of the major aims of the programme will be the establishment of the National Academy for Community Organising, to sustain the ongoing training of Community Organisers beyond 2020. The appointment of the 20 Hubs, alongside the first national qualification in community organising, form the foundations of the National Academy.
The programme enables people to be part of the Government’s commitment to support people to come together to improve their own lives and for social action to become established as routine in our public services and communities.
“This is a very exciting project that is building on the foundations of the previous Community Organisers Training Programme. We strongly believe that the training programme will enable residents to take greater control of their lives and create strong and resilient communities that work for everyone.”
Nick Gardham, CEO of COLtd
You can find the location of your nearest Social Action Hub through the interactive map.