As the Gloucestershire Member Organiser for Community Organisers Limited (COLtd) I’ve been thinking about why someone would join a network of Community Organisers? I think the obvious answer is they love community organising and believe in the approach and share values. But that doesn’t capture the crux of it for me, so I thought about myself back in 2012 when I finished my training and why I chose to join the network.
In a nutshell I guess it’s because of the people, I don’t think I’ve ever met such a diverse group of people, coming with a range of skills and experiences. I’ve met so many inspiring and genuinely lovely people from around the country. I have learnt an enormous amount from them and they’ve really helped inform my community organising practice and expanded my mind to what’s possible. The people in our network are supportive, it feels like a family who have your back should anything go wrong, but don’t be fooled into thinking you won’t be challenged, because you certainly will be, after all we are involved in Community Organising.
What are the benefits to becoming a member?
I’m in a fortunate position to say I’ve been to every single action camp and the more recently renamed Community Organisers meet ups. This is an annual event where you get lots of time to meet others involved in community organising from around England, to attend interesting workshops and not to forget Community Organisers got talent! If you have the opportunity to go I highly recommend it! You’ll meet some wonderfully talented people and learn a thing or too. But this isn’t the only reason, sometime this work is a lonely journey, so it’s a great feeling to be part of something bigger.
As part of the network we also receive free online learning curtesy of Community Organisers Ltd, partake in lively online debate with others and hear about jobs and contract opportunities. I must not forget to mention the new offering of a Timebank for members, which I have to admit to being a bit sceptical about initially, as we have the wonderful Fair Shares in Gloucester. However, on reflection the COLtd membership timebank offers a wider opportunity to volunteer your time with other members nationally. For those claiming universal credit there is the opportunity for your hours to be counted towards your job seeking hours. But we recommend having a chat with your adviser first.
In Gloucestershire it feels like our network reach and influence is growing too, helped by having quarterly meet ups, where we can share stories, knowledge and learn some new things too. I really believe collectively as a network we can achieve so much more than we can alone. If you’d like to find out more about joining Community Organisers Ltd get in touch
By Georgina Balfour