One day in October 2012, I spent the morning visiting about fifty houses and managed to complete a few more listenings, but it seemed it was just another ordinary day in the life of a Community Organiser.
At one of the houses I visited I was asked inside by an elderly man and spent over an hour carrying out listenings with him and his daughter – talking about the area – however, I went away not really expecting anything more from the visit.
A few days later I received a telephone call from Nicola, the lady I had met previously, and arranged to meet her again. We met in a supermarket café and had a chat. She told me about her local park and how it had changed for the worse since she used to play there as a young girl. She still lives in the area and takes her daughter there to play. Her vision was to start up a group to look after the park!
I was invited to her house later and met some of her friends, and they decided to get on board.
A few weeks later I had the opportunity to visit the Incredible Edible project in Todmorden, and I asked if I could bring some interested community members with me. I invited Nicola and her partner to come with me and they both came away full of excitement. The next thing I knew they were planning to plant vegetables in some of the flower beds in the area.
Not long after the rhubarb, onions, parsley, strawberries, artichokes, and raspberries had been planted I had another telephone call, from Nicola. This time she wanted to start a Sidney Park “Park Watch” (a Neighbourhood Watch Group for the park) and one Saturday morning three of us visited the houses next to the park to see what support we could find.
Between us we signed up more than twenty members in a couple of hours. The Park Watch group is still growing and is now working with the Police and other agencies to reduce the level of nuisance behaviour that takes place in the area. The group is also planning to organise some activities to increase the number of people who visit the park.