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Group leads the way in nationwide community improvement scheme

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 18, 2013

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Cornish residents are being offered a helping hand to improve their local areas and change their lives for the better.

As part of a nationwide scheme a new role of community organiser has been created.

The programme will recruit and train 500 senior community organisers across the country and a further 4,500 part-time voluntary organisers over the next four years.

The remit of the community organisers will be to listen to residents' views and to engage with the public sector, charities, small businesses and other local groups to galvanise a local power-base to change communities for the better.

For one year only the role of community organiser will be held by Penwith Housing Association – part of Devon & Cornwall Housing.

It is the first housing association in the country to take part in the scheme.

Funding from the Office for Civil Society has paid for the project which has been rolled-out nationally by Locality, a network for community-led groups.

The latest development builds on work already started by Penwith Community Development Trust (PCDT), with Locality, who supported and trained the first community organisers in Cornwall.

Jeni McFadden, Penwith Housing Association's community organiser, said she was honoured to be holding the new job.

She said: "I am delighted to get started in the community organiser role.

"It is all about encouraging and supporting people to develop their skills and knowledge to motivate them to take action to enable positive change within the community.

"I will be approaching Penwith Housing Association residents to listen to them, to engage in meaningful conversations which enable their voices to be heard.

"Key objectives of the community organiser will be to effectively motivate and mobilise people who live in the neighbourhoods where Penwith Housing Association has homes as well as identifying and training a team of active volunteer community organisers who will become the community holding team.

"These will be from the Penwith housing association volunteer bank and others that want to get involved."

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