Saul Alinsky, the author of 'Rules for Radicals' coined the term 'community organising' during the 1930s when he was involved in working with communities of immigrants in Chicago. He was clear in his explanation that this method would be about building power for the underpriviledged, the 'have-nots', of society.
A modern example of community organising took place in London in 2001 when members of London Citizens came together over their concerns about low pay. They began telling their stories and finding others in similar hardship. The leaders began to go from company to company protesting about low pay and demanding change. Initially they were called 'mad' and told that their idea of a 'living wage' could even be illegal. Today the living wage is reviewed annually by City Hall in London and currently stands at £8.55 an hour. Professor Jane Wills of Queen Mary University estimates that since its conception it has lifted thousands out of poverty. Local authorities and businesses now see it as in their interest to pay the Lliving Wage as it produces greater productivity and retention amongs their staff.
'Growing Community Organising' is the title of a report by the Young Foundation on work they carried out with organisations across England. Their programme focused on sustainable models of community organising and makes six key points for strengthening community organising in the UK.The first of these points is that it can take up to eighteen months before you see action.
To read the report click here.