Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Community Organising in Milton Keynes

At the Mission Partnership Assembly this evening Tim Clapton talked about community organising - a topical theme given the previous employment record of Barak Obama - on the day of the US election.

Tim has been working on this project for over a year and is hoping to bring the Citizens project to Milton Keynes. Things seem to be developing nicely and this could be really exciting.

Community Organising began with the work of Saul Alinsky in Chicago who wrote, "Rules for Radicals" which was published in 1971.

Tim described the process that the Citizens project will probably follow. It begins with the construction of a community alliance, made up of groups like churches, mosques, schools and other local groups. These groups then meet and engage in a process of serious listening through which key community issues are identified. There is then a democratic decision (with each group given one vote) which identifies the key issues that the alliance wants to address. The alliance then identifies the people who have the power to address these issues and acts to persuade these people to enact change.

He gave us a range of great stories including that of some nuns who helped persuade a bank to pay its cleaning staff a living wage by depositing small change from a large number of collecting tins on a Saturday morning...

This project could be really significant and I look forward to seeing where it will lead...

No comments: