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Join our volunteers!

Started by Growing Support on Thursday. 0 Replies

We're looking for friendly volunteers to join our team working hard to enable people with dementia to stay physically and socially active.Join us and make a valuable contribution to your community,…Continue

Using Gardening to Address Social Isolation

Started by Growing Support May 3. 0 Replies

How You Can Help Tackle Social Isolation in Your CommunityRecent research shows up to 50% of older people living in care never go outside and they are twice as likely to experience severe loneliness…Continue

Mini community garden in Watchet

Started by charles birch. Last reply by Mrs Susan Calvo Oct 12, 2016. 1 Reply

On the 14th. of march we set up a very small veg. bed. see U tube" admirals corner incredidible edible"on the17th. of June we harvested the potatoes. they were first 'Earlies' and made just over 21…Continue

job opportuntiy

Started by Alison Hayward. Last reply by Alison Hayward May 30, 2015. 1 Reply

South somerset Mind (Yeovil) is looking for a horticultural therapist for the Vanessa project.The role is paid for 6 hours a week at £10 per hour.  Please phone Gill on 01935 474875 for further…Continue

Tags: therapy, horticultural, work, job

Sustaining your Organising

Sustaining Energy & Avoiding Burnout

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4013/4710879658_30589e87fe_m.jpgThere is a common culture in grassroots organising for people to burn out, that is to do too much for too long in a way that is unsustainable, which eventually 'burns you out', taking away your energy and enthusiasm for organising. This is caused by a wide diversity of factors, in which everyone is unique, and the responsibility lies with not only the person, but the group and movement culture we create.

“Burnout is defined, and subjectively experienced, as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in situations that are emotionally demanding. The emotional demands are often caused by a combination of very high expectations and chronic situational stresses.

Burnout is accompanied by an array of symptoms including physical depletion, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, disillusionment and the development of negative self-concept and negative attitudes towards work, people and life itself. In its extreme form, burnout represents a breaking point beyond which the ability to cope with the environment is severely hampered.”

From Career Burnout - Causes and Cures, Ayala Pines and Elliott Aronson, The Free Press 1998

Even with smaller scale projects, combined with the stresses of life, it is very easy for organising to tip you over the edge in terms of feeling too in-demand and over-committed.

Fortunately, there are a huge number of resources available that can help you see the patterns of burnout and support yourself and others to avoid harming yourself and sustain your organising over the long haul.

Further resources & information

Anti-Oppression Practice & Awareness

In working to change our food systems and achieve social change, how we interact with each other is therefore very important.

  • Does your group tolerate abusive, oppress or discriminatory language or behaviour?
  • Are you creating spaces and groups that are inclusive for all forms of diversity including (but not limited to), ability, age, appearance, cultural heritage, education, ethnicity, financial status, gender, health, language, legal status, nationality, personal body choices, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender queer (LGBTQQ), and social class?

The Anti Oppression Resource and Training Collective have some great resources to help you explore your group’s systems and structures and make changes to create an anti-oppression organising culture.

In their work, they identify an iceberg model of oppression:

Below are some examples of this in practice:

INDIVIDUAL CONSCIOUS

  • Telling a racist or anti-semitic joke
  • Beating someone up because they are Muslim or queer
  • Letting the air out of someone’s bike or car tires because they are a person of color or are disabled

INDIVIDUAL UNCONSCIOUS

  • Laughing at a racist or anti-semitic joke
  • Assuming someone doesn’t know how to do something because they are poor or working class
  • Pointing out how oversensitive a person of color is for “always” bringing up racism

SYSTEMIC/INSITUTIONAL CONSCIOUS

  • Forced sterilization of women of color by the U.S. government
  • Forcibly sending millions of Native children in the U.S. and Canada to Christian boarding schools
  • Denying basic civil and human rights to LGBTQ people (right to marry, right to visit partners in hospitals, etc.)
  • Laws and sanctioned practices to terrify and force immigrants and undocumented peoples out of the U.S.

SYSTEMIC/INSTITUTIONAL UNCONSCIOUS

  • Racism in the prison industrial complex: Black boys/men are 7 times more likely to be incarcerated in the U.S. than White boys/men
  • The institutional education system: Schools serving mostly poor and/or students of color have a lower rate of success and a significantly high rate of violence by peers and by police, and often create what is called a “school to prison pipeline” – where these inequities set up poor and youth and youth of color on a path towards detention centers and prisons).
  • European and Christian perspectives and experiences are normalized in the design of school curriculum, text books and standardized tests.

CULTURAL CONSCIOUS

  • “Normal” bandages, hair care and make-up products are colored for and catered to white and light skinned people.
  • The banning of Chican@ history books and the shutting down of Mexican-American Studies programs in Arizona public schools
  • Columbus Day and Thanksgiving are celebrated in the U.S. as national holidays, rather than days of mourning.

CULTURAL UNCONSCIOUS

  • School, work and public municipal calendars only acknowledge and revolve around Christian holidays – non-Christians must miss school or work to observe holidays and may not be able to observe or celebrate their religious or cultural holidays if they cannot miss school or work.
  • In English, “white” is assiciated with “clean,” “pure,” and “good” while “black” is associated with “dirty,” “disgraced,” and “evil.”
  • There is not a cultural expectation to offer paternity leave to fathers or parents not giving birth to a child, reinforcing gender roles and making it financially challenging for co-parents to share the work and responsibilities of early childhood care.

Together we can create groups that are committed to eradicating all forms of oppression.

Further information & resources

Conflict Resolution

A huge number of groups, if not all of them, will experience conflict when organising together. Our values, ideas and beliefs can clash as well as our ways we think things should be done.

Turning conflict into a creative solution takes patience and skill but is an essential part of growth. We have tried to collate a few pioneering publications below that can support you and your group overcome and use conflict for positive change in your efforts.

Further information & resources

Active listening is a useful skill for all sorts of situations - whether you're taking part in meetings and workshops or dealing with conflict. By actively listening we can come to understand how the speaker feels about a subject or situation - this briefing explains how we can hear people through their words and tune into their underlying emotions, concerns and tensions

This 40 page booklet, written by Seeds for Change Oxford and published by EYFA is aimed at people and groups working for social change who want to develop an understanding of conflict and how to deal with it. There are sections on what conflict is, the benefits of addressing it, and tools to work though conflict and maintain healthy and effective social change groups. A5 PDF - 315k

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