Nick reflects on his recent visit to Poland:
About a year ago Community Organisers was contacted by Centrum Doradztwa Strategicznego – an organisation based in Poland – who were keen to explore how a community organising approach could be adapted and developed in a Polish context.
Funded by the European Union, the ‘Socially Organised’ programme was launched in two pilot cities, Przemysl and Krosno. Both cities are similar in size and demographic to Stockport and Lincoln so – thanks to Joanna Okrasa, Alice Carter, Nicola Dean, and Ryan McMurdo – Community Organisers invited the Polish team to come to the UK and hear the experiences and stories of community organising – and they also got a bit of training too (with the added advantage of Joanna being able to lead the session in Polish!).
In December, the Polish team invited Nicola Dean and I to visit the two pilots; we meet with local organisations and with the Presidents of both cities, and we introduced community organising from our experience.
The ‘Socially Organised’ programme has recruited 12 trainee community organisers from a variety of backgrounds, including current and former teachers, charity and NGO workers, municipal officers, and social entrepreneurs. As part of their development, they have taken versions of our courses – ‘Introduction to Community Organising’ and ‘Listening Skills for Community Organising’ – adapted by the team leading the programme in Poland.
These Polish trainees recently visited the UK (at the beginning of June) and learnt from Becky Jackson – the newly recruited community organiser in Stockport – to hear what it’s like starting out on your community organising journey.