The Community Organisers Staffordshire group is made up of an experienced community organiser and some trainee community organisers, the other members include residents and leaders from the Stafford area.
Together, over the last two years, some of us have been coming together holding regular meetings, discussing the work of Stafford’s Old Chapel Works Social Action Hub. We quickly realised that we needed to implement some kind of action around one of the main issues raised during the listenings – food poverty – that appeared to be on the increase.
The opportunity arose to create a community organising group during the Community Organisers’ network meet-ups and events, held locally by the Member Organiser for Staffordshire. After building some really strong community allies within our local network, all the members were encouraged to complete the ‘Introduction to Community Organising’ training. This helped to build confidence and capacity within our membership; to utilise and grow our own local community organising power-base. Most of our core group are local leaders and community organisers. One member is a qualified accountant; another was a previous host of the original ‘Community Organisers’ programme. Everyone has the skills required to run a constituted group.
Discussions grew around food poverty and concerns were further expressed about the capacity of the local Food Bank to meet the need. Our trainee community organisers were listening to local people and we could hear that the situation was becoming worse – because of this a small group of members met to discuss the issue.
After listening to many members of the community – including food growers, shop owners, independent traders, voluntary sector workers and local council representatives – the decision was made to open a Social Supermarket for Stafford.
We are all very excited for our new community organisers venture, locally. This time we aim to tackle the food poverty issues that we face on a daily basis in our communities. Thank you to the Stafford Newsletter for the written piece.
We intend to work towards a more democratic and fair society in Stafford, where people will actively engage in collective community action and effect local, social change from the bottom up.
When our members work together, the possibilities for change are endless. The group will encourage more people to take further action; running and staffing the supermarket; integrating and developing the model ‘Feeding Stafford’ – a member of the ‘Feeding Britain’ group.
As the Local Organising Group reach out and motivate their community – building collective power – we will be able to overcome social injustices. We will be organised enough to get our voices heard; make a shift in power; create a change for good!