Over the past five years The Wharton Trust has transformed itself and its relationship with local residents through community organising – no longer ‘doing for’ but ‘doing with’.
By taking an organising approach, many thousands of listening sessions have been turning into action and there has been a real desire in the local community to work together and commit to social action. This cultural shift by local people has seen flowerbeds adopted, anti-social behaviour challenged and direct action taken.
Organising has also underpinned the Dyke House Big Local process, ensuring it remains resident-led and without unhealthy power structures. As a Social Action Hub the Wharton Trust aims to continue developing its own commitment to community organising, training its own staff and volunteers as well as rolling out training to local residents. They are beginning to purchase houses to rent out. Their goal is to train each tenant in community organising who will commit to social action and take a street organising approach to their life. This approach not only creates a cohort of residents with the skills and knowledge to organise, but the long term sustainable resources to invest and deliver training. The bigger vision is to see organising as the go-to methodology for releasing Hartlepool from the shackles of poverty.