by Rob Stirling (Community Organiser)
Hosted by Reading Voluntary Action on Duke Street, Annemaire Byrnes, Freya Walker, Robert Stirling and Smriti V Hunter will be talking to people, finding out what they love about the area they live in and what things they would most like to improve. The four of them will then be looking to support local people set up solutions over the next year.
Robert said, ‘This is a really exciting opportunity. We are here to listen to people and work with the community to address their concerns. The idea is to empower people so they realise they can have a positive effect on the area in which they live. We are here to give people the opportunity to have a say in how their area is run. The aim is to listen to hundreds of people and build a network of volunteers and interested people so we can encourage them to become more active in their communities.’
These organisers will be working for a year as a part of a government funded scheme to encourage more people to take action and get involved within their communities. The overall goal is to get 5000 people from across England to take action around the things that they care about and transform their neighbourhoods, and this programme has now spread to Reading.
Smriti said, ‘This is a fantastic way to get local people involved in deciding what they want in their community and then make it happen. Everyone in the community is encouraged and welcome to be involved. We are here to provide practical help and assistance, but mainly we are here to ignite people’s passion, giving them the power to act and creating the support networks to take collective action about the things they care about.’
Although the scheme is funded by the Cabinet Office, administered by national body Locality and hosted by the Reading Voluntary Action, the Community Organisers are completely independent and their actions will be led entirely and solely by the community in which they work. They also receive their training from national charity RE:generate in their Root Solution – Listening Matters approach. Annemaire will be working in Southcote around Coronation Square, Freya will be working in the town end of Oxford Road, Robert will be working around Erleigh Road south of Cemetery Junction and Smriti will be working in Newtown and Orts Road.
To get in contact with the community organisers please email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.