For positive social change to happen, we believe that communities need real power. Sometimes this power is handed out by governments, and sometimes communities come together to gain power on their own accord and on their own terms.
Our Building Local Activism programme, supported by the BIG Lottery Fund, focuses on the latter: how communities can empower themselves through community organising, asset- based community development and digital activism.
For the digital activism strand, we are working with communities that want to use digital tools to campaign on issues that matter to them. This includes activities with older people to make Leeds city centre more accessible, working with a women’s group in the West Midlands to encourage retailers to display lads’ mags on the top shelf, and helping Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau map the impact of cuts to housing benefit. The knowledge that comes out of this will be released in a report that containing a toolkit for other would-be digital campaigners.
We’re also helping two organisations that do Saul Alinsky-style community organising to grow their work into new cities. Church Action on Poverty is organising in Salford and Middlesbrough, whilst Citizens UK is organising communities in Birmingham and Nottingham.