Published 13th March 2023

Levelling Up Locally – Nurturing the latent potential within all people to lead

The thought of leadership causes some people in our society to shudder. For some it’s something to shy away from. In their minds, it is inextricably linked to power, control and something that others do to other people. However, at Community Organisers, we believe leadership is something within us all. It is an innate quality that within some is suppressed due to a range of socio-economic, structural and cultural factors.

Over the last 7 years we have been working across our network of Social Action Hubs and our Community Practitioners Network to provide training and support in community organising to equip people with the necessary skills so that they can take action on the issues that they care about.

When we think about leadership, too little attention is placed on reaching out beyond the existing leaders in a community. If we want to develop a culture of possibility in places where people believe in their ability to create change we need to get directly on the ground in local places and start listening to people 1:1 about the issues they care about and start there.

Working passionately alongside local people and organisations, we have given people the skills and confidence to take the first steps towards leading by helping them to realise their strengths, and enabling them to think critically, identify problems and find solutions.

For example, in Birkenhead, listening to the experiences of local mums raised issues relating to school holidays and the additional financial pressures that they bring. By listening to their collective experiences and supporting them to develop their confidence and leadership to take these issues forward three parents were invied to take part in the Department for Work and Pensiosn Education Committee to give evidence on school holiday poverty at the Houses of Parliament

In Wiltshire, Hannah turned to community organising to tackle the problem of rising tensions between local residents and homeless people using communal areas for illegal drug use.  After attending a training course in community organising, she listened to and worked with her neighbours to hold the local housing association to account. The issues were resolved within three months.

In Lambeth, local people who were part of St Martins Tenants and Residents Association were feeling powerless to act on the issues of damp that were affecting their homes. Through the work of community organiser Graham Weston, they developed a collective strategy for action that involved listening the experiences of others and seeking support from Lambeth Council. As a result of their efforts an independent environmental inspection was taken to assess the affected blocks.

These stories highlight the latent leadership potential in communities that when harnessed brings people together who can start to work with and alongside existing institutions to build on the strengths of their communities and tackle the issues that they are facing.

Interested in training?

Inspired to find out more about community organising or want to further develop your understanding and practice. Get in touch with us and we will connect you in with one of our many training opportunities

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