Community Organisers Blog
Introducing new Community Organiser Clara
With all the leaves changing and saying goodbye to the summer; it seems to fit well with our latest update.
One of our Community Organiser team is moving projects and will no longer be working directly on the Social Action Hub training. Alex has started up on a joint project with Community First and Macmillan around Cancer support in Wiltshire.
Because Community Organising is at the heart of my approach I used that in my interview for this new post. Macmillan really seemed to understand the importance and the approach of Community Organising and have encouraged me to use this approach wherever possible in the new role.
I have loved every single moment working with the Social Action Hub and will work hard to make sure that it links with what I am doing now. I would love to ensure that the people I engage with in Wiltshire and Swindon have a direct link to Community Organising training and to the network. It would be wonderful if we can have a Cancer/Health link within that hub. As I am still based in the same office as the CO team I will make sure that I stay in touch and link up people wherever I can.
I will also have a blog that tracks the progress of the Macmillan Cancer Connections project.
This is by no means the end and I fully intend to continue with Community Organisers Ltd to support with training delivery wherever possible.
What I really love about all of this is the growth of Community Organising within Community First as an organisation. We have seen organisations open up to the approach more recently with the likes of Nationwide who have employed a full time Community Organiser to their team. Community First now have three Community Organisers and I know that if funding permits they would look to employ more.
I appreciate the patience that Community First have had with Community Organising and the trust that they have put into us and the process. I really feel that the way that they have embraced Community Organising has raised the profile of Community Organising within Wiltshire and Swindon and that makes me very happy. This is such a contrast from when I started the role five years ago.
Community First have now appointed Clara to take over from me in the Social Action Hub; I’d like to take this opportunity to wish her a very warm welcome and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her so far. We thought we’d get her to join me in this piece to introduce herself and let us know about what brought her to the role…
A little bit about me and why I wanted to join Community First….
Since moving to a small rural village just outside Devizes I feel passionately about the power and significance of communities.
I have a history of volunteering. After I left school I spent a year in a rural school for mentally and physically disabled children (STAR Special School – Coimbatore) in Tamil Nadu India teaching English, maths, music and drama. During my university holidays I volunteered at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability in Putney London as a care assistant helping the resident patients participate in an art, reading and music programme.
Before I joined Community First I had a career as a television producer working mainly for the BBC or Channel 4. I was drawn to programmes and projects that illuminated how inspirational people can be, and the pleasure generated by community activity and living life to the full.
Since moving to Wiltshire in 2010 I have become even more aware of the value of happy, well integrated and active communities. I am lucky enough to be part of two thriving communities: a small primary school and the village where I live. Being a part of both has taught me how important it is to listen to each other’s problems and to reach out and share things with others. However small the problems feel if you come together as a community you can always bring about change. This act of collaboration has also made me realise how lonely and isolating life can sometimes feel – particularly when you embark on motherhood or perhaps when your children leave home (this hasn’t happened to me yet!). Adapting to your changing circumstances can be very hard but this is where a community can become so important to people’s lives.
And I think I know what ‘good’ communities look like, and appreciate how much work they take to sustain.
I am really excited to be joining Katrina and Alex and the dynamic Community First Team!