Framework sections highlighted: Connect, Leadership, Reach

The power of the network

Our East Midlands Member Organiser, Dave, ran his first regional meet-up in October 2017 for members of the Community Organisers network, with a team of just three volunteers. A year on, the group has grown to around 100 members who have met 10 times around the region to connect on issues affecting the area and beyond.

The network meets monthly in different locations around Nottinghamshire, exploring different topics each time, including social isolation and creative ways to nurture community.  Since the first meet-up, Dave and a group of volunteers have been working towards the sustainability of the network by employing different strategies, including providing food and travel costs to those who need it and letting members set the agenda for meet-ups.

Training has also been a major element in nurturing leadership within the group, drawing on the knowledge of other community organisers within the wider national network.  In July, fellow organisers visited the group to share ‘Tools for Meaningful Conversations’ over a two-day course.  The idea behind training such as this is to enable attendees of the network to become organisers and facilitators.  The meet-ups also offer payment to new facilitators, valuing the work they are doing.

Sue is one leader who has emerged through this on-going process.  She became the first female chair of her local Neighbourhood Watch group last May, and has found attending the network meet-ups invaluable in raising her confidence in her new role and helping her connect with others in the region.

I get positivity and encouragement from the Community Organisers network... it’s an environment where I can flourish more.

As well as the nurturing and support Sue has found in the network, her involvement has also given her some very practical things, including connecting her with contacts which she has used in her work with Neighbourhood Watch, as well as knowledge and skills of community organising and facilitation methods.

Sue has also given a lot back to the network, having facilitated sessions as well as setting up the Nottinghamshire Community Organisers website. She has been documenting the meetings through the blog on this site which has provided a valuable resource for others in the network.

Members are currently exploring funding options in order to sustain and grow the network, and are starting to grow their collective power beyond one to one connections, with plans for the group to focus on a common issue and take action on this together, as well as continuing to reach out and connect with other groups outside of the network.

“It’s a good network to get involved with and it would be lovely to share resources with more people” says Sue. “There is so much that can be achieved when we’re working in a joined-up way within the community organising structure.”


If you've got a great story about community organising and the positive impact it is having in your community we would love to hear from you.