"I've found the role very rewarding. There is now a buzz in the community that wasn't there before."
Community Organiser for Locality in Tottenham, Candace has worked closely with the Selby Centre to create lasting relationships in the area. Working with our other Community Organisers in the local area, she graduated on Thursday after a year spent knocking on doors, speaking with local people and helping develop ways we can improve our communities by listening to and helping get some amazing projects off the ground.
“Talking to members of the community and building networks has given me a greater understanding of community engagement at the ground level and the themes and issues that affect people.”
Working on the street to reach the people that matter, Candace was able to use her interests in sociology and education to empower local residents to tackle issues and views in their neighbourhoods.
“A particular memorable moment that I can remember was when I was out listening I approached a group young men smoking cannabis. I proceeded to speak to one of the young men, who at first thought I was an undercover police officer. After a bit of banter between myself him and his friends I began to listen to his views and feelings about his area. I was to find this young man was extremely passionate about his community and he explained to me that he would like to see less gangs and more activities for young families on low incomes.”
Candace used her skills to continue to engage the individuals she met and the same man is now actively involved in the community, joining the team as a volunteer Community Organiser and now running a local youth club with more than 200 young people.
“He clearly sees how his decision to listen to members of his community has had an Impact, on the local community especially young people his age who now look up to him and respect him. From the initial meeting with this young man to today we now have the local youth interested in political engagement training, and are developing their own projects such as a debating group, a political youth forum and drama project.”
For more on the Community Organisers programme check out our partners Locality here. You can also follow our facebook page for everything else, including events and regular updates on our impact and more stories from the people that are making it happen.