Shelter launched a new campaign and community organising training programme, Housing Action Academy, aimed at people experiencing housing issues. Having run three successful training events, we hear from Suzanne about why she joined and why others should sign up for future training events.
By Suzanne Hydes, Newcastle
I was really excited to read about Shelter’s new ground-breaking Housing Action Academy and to attend training sessions run directly by staff working for the charity. I started local campaigning a few months before the pandemic, but my skills were a bit rusty and I was disconnected from other activists.
Attending the Housing Action Academy was empowering and reinvigorated my passion for better housing at a local level. The sessions were on Zoom, they were constructive, practical, interactive, and everyone was welcoming and friendly. I attended the ‘Introduction to Campaigning’ and ‘Storytelling in Campaigns’ sessions.
Meeting other people struggling with various aspects of housing and from very diverse backgrounds was beneficial for me, as attendees had a variety of personal experiences to draw upon and contribute, including poor conditions, low social housing standards, illegal harassment or eviction and homelessness. They also brought different levels of campaigning experience, from total beginner to seasoned pro.
My favourite session was ‘Storytelling in Campaigns’, where we explored the importance of using personal experiences in media and activism campaigns, looked at strategies for media communications and role-played approaching a negligent landlord during a group activity.
I would encourage anybody to register for training. Getting involved with future sessions can equip you with practical skills to build effective campaigns, and you can meet and engage with other activists. This builds momentum in tackling poor housing standards in our local neighbourhoods, which is the end goal.
Sophie, who runs the Housing Action Academy, was brilliant and even connected me to my local Shelter Community Organiser in Newcastle upon Tyne. I’m meeting him for coffee in the next couple of weeks to find out more about campaigns being organised in my city, so I can become an even better housing activist.
Our next set of training events will be advertised on the Housing Action Academy homepage. They’ll run from July until the end of October. Sign up to our mailing list to make sure you’re the first to hear about them.