Everyday people can change the world

The protest against fracking in Balcombe is front page news. Residents, climate change campaigners, anti-austerity and fuel poverty activists gathered in a field in Balcombe. People from all walks of life. As I write, I’m watching coverage of police removing protestors from the site.

Beyond the fracking dispute and the debate about costs of policing protests, I was interested in the workshops being run at the Reclaim the Power Camp.

Just like workshops in the anti-airport expansion campaign, they are bringing diverse groups together for a common cause. Building people’s skills and confidence in campaigning. Supporting people to take an active role in influencing something they believe in.

Campaigns are driven by passion, commitment and persistence. But skills, confidence and knowledge are also essential parts of successful influencing.

Whether you’re a grassroots campaigner or a public affairs professional, you can play a vital role in achieving change. For me, this is empowering, motivating and inspiring.

At Reclaim the Power Camp there was a children’s area. This opens it up to families too, not violent action draining the public purse but everyday people united by a desire for change.

Individual campaigners – just like voluntary sector organisations – can choose to take part in campaign actions that they are comfortable with. Direct action isn’t for everyone, or every campaign, but at Reclaim the Power they offer roles in supporting other aspects of the campaign too.

Combining a vision for a better world with strategic thinking and passion on an issue, everyday people can become successful campaigners taking action on something they believe in. Everyone can be a campaigner but armed with some good information and support we can combine our efforts to make a bigger difference.

P.S The Certificate in Campaigning is still open for bookings! Next course starts October 2013 with an exciting line of speakers and campaigners.

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Sarah Gilbert is an experienced campaigner. She is an independent consultant and runs projects for NCVO on campaigning and influencing, including the Certificate in Campaigning and Leadership in Campaigns. She also coaches campaigners, has guest lectured for Roehampton University, and is a member of the advisory board for the University of Westminster's MA in Campaigning, Communications and Media. Sarah sits on the Campaigning Effectiveness Advisory Board and writes blogs, articles and tweets about how to influence people and the sector’s role in campaigning.

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