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A Guest Blog from Owen Riley, Grace Church

A Guest Blog from Owen Riley, Grace Church

Owen reflects on his community organising training experience

I recently went along to Citizens’ one-day Community Organising Training, where I drank far too much free coffee (5 cups by the end of the day!), got to know a diverse, inspirational group of people and most of all, learnt some of the basics of community organising. At the start of the day, I got to meet my fellow trainees.


It was inspirational to see the huge range of backgrounds we all came from. Among us was a former Ghanaian government official, a Yorkshire Methodist minister, a local engineer, charity workers and plenty of students like myself. It was energising to see such a diverse group of people united in their desire for justice. Owen Riley, Grace Church Nottingham

Throughout the day, we covered a broad range of topics from the philosophy of leadership to the practicalities of organising a campaign. Although, the training took a bizarre turn when one of the trainers – without explaining why mind you – asked me to lie down on a big sheet of paper. People then crowded round me to etch around my body! It turns out they wanted to use my outline as a boundary to write inside. I was just thankful the training was before Christmas!

Yet, what has stuck with me even more than my brief modelling career, has to be the session on power. Normally, I would associate power-hungriness with dodgy, unprincipled politicians or selfish bosses. So, when it was presented not only as a good thing, but as an essential trait of change-making leaders, I could barely believe my ears. But the central message that it requires power for change to actually be made, rings true in our world.

It’s spoken to me not only of the need for community movements to garner far reaching support, but of the good that can come from individuals – who are committed to justice – holding positions of influence in local councils or political parties.

So, if you’re looking for a fun, encouraging day that will get you thinking practically about change-making, I couldn’t recommend Citizen’s one-day training more. My only advice for the day would be to resist the free coffee – 5 cups is definitely not healthy!

Posted by Pete Rogers on 14 Jan, 2022