The young people were part of a wider group of around 80 young people in eight very different areas and settings, who learned about community organising over a few months starting in the Autumn of 2018. They included:
- secondary school students in Barking in the largest urban regeneration site in Europe;
- a Muslim girls’ group in Batley, Yorkshire;
- a youth club in Barrow Hill in Chesterfield, in a semi-derelict building recently reclaimed by community – the only facility in the village;
- Roma young people in Derby;
- other young people from youth groups in Colchester, North Kensington, and Camden and Islington in London.
Over the course of a few months the young people began to get to grips with the fundamentals of community organising – listening, building power, and taking action for change. Some of them ran small listening campaigns and developed ideas for action as a result. Others took part in action already going on in their community, for example protests against cuts in community services. They started to learn that their voice matters and that there are ways to change the things that matter to them.
And our trainers also experimented with how best to train young people – to adapt our courses for different ages and for varying time periods; to use creative methods to engage all the creativity young people have to offer; to ground the training in young people’s own ideas and issues, lived experience and visions – whether that was the desire for a fish and chip shop in the village, taking over a new youth building, developing student-led media, or feeling more empowered to deal with knife crime in their community.