Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund a group of mums in Chirk have got organised. TCC was successful in winning a grant through ‘Awards for All’ which provided funding for the training, including the cost of a crèche so that parents were able to attend.
Even after the first session in community organising, it was clear the training was having an impact, with participants becoming more confident about standing up for themselves when dealing with authority figures.
The training was delivered by TCC’s lead organiser, Kay Polley, and over several weeks covered concepts of power, self-interest, building strong relationships, working with power people, and taking action on local issues.
In the final session the women were able to put their training into action, when they ran a meeting with their two county councillors. The group had planned out the meeting beforehand, and organised speakers to share their stories about living in Chirk. One of the women spoke about the dangers of her daughter having to veer into the road whilst on her bike because the dustbins are always left blocking the pavement. The councillors agreed to take action to tackle this issue, and listened to suggestions about how other improvements can be made in the local community. The councillors agreed to feedback to the group, and have even asked to set up a regular meeting.
The results of the evaluation show that overall participants are more confident, feel more able to take action, have clearer ideas about solutions to local issues, have a better understanding of community organising, have improved leadership skills, are more motivated to tackle issues, have a greater understanding of how power operates, and are more optimistic that things can be changed. Their scores on each of these topics leapt from an average of 5.2 out of 10 before the training to an average of 9.3 out of 10.
One participant told us how the training had been useful when she suffered poor treatment at the job centre; although she had arrived at the correct time, she was told she was wrong and asked to leave, meaning she was out of pocket for her travel there. Usually she would have just left, but after having training she was able to organise her thoughts, and speak up for herself. “I think the course has helped a lot. I found the confidence to stand my ground in the job centre because I knew what I saying, said it clearly and got the result I wanted – that was only after the first session.” She was able to have her appointment, and even got her travel expenses refunded!
TCC would like to thank the Big Lottery Fund for the funding which made this training possible. If you would like to find out more about community organising training please visit our training page. Individuals can take part in our 24 hour training, or groups and organisations like the Chirk mums’ group can have training tailored specifically for them.
TCC is about to launch new training sessions with BAWSO as part of the Sanctuary in Wales Project, training women sanctuary seekers to become Community Champions.