Stir to Action New Economy Programme continues

This year’s programme is fully women-led

Stir to Action is running more workshops via its New Economy Programme, a community business learning and action platform.

Designed to provide capacity-building training for local communities, democratic businesses, third sector organisations, and activists, the programme is now in its fourth edition. This year, with support from the Power to Change, Stir to Action is offering 80 free training places – available to minoritised ethnic communities, young adults (aged between 18-35) and those living in areas of deprivation.

Unlike previous editions, this year’s programme is fully women-led. All training sessions will be run by practitioners in the field.

The New Economy Programme started as an in-person training programme in 2016/2017 and ran a number of courses in London, Bristol and Oxford. A year later it expanded to Bradford and Newcastle. Once the pandemic, hit all workshops went online, which has helped to attract more participants from a wider geographical area, including some international attendees.

“We aim to have some in person events in the future as well,” says marketing and communications director, Abby Gordon-Farleigh.

A total of 209 participants have registered for the 15 workshops so far but Stir to Action expects the figure to increase to 1,000 by the end of the programme in June 2022. Workshops will explore a range of issues, from sociocracy, community shares and how to start a worker co-op to conflict resolution, community ownership, democratising the high street and forming successful partnerships.

One of the workshops will look at supporting co-operation through HR and will be facilitated by People Support Co-op, a women’s sociocratic worker co-op.

“In our experience co-ops don’t have an HR function within the organisation,” says Ms Gordon-Farleigh. The workshop will aim to help co-op members and employees understand how to create an effective HR function that supports their members and builds a strong co-opculture.

In another workshop Jo White from Co-operative Futures will cover some of the key steps required to set up a worker co-op. Kate Whittle from Cooperantics will also to explore constructive and practical approaches to dealing with conflict.

Stir to Action has big plans for the future – it hopes to expand its training offer via its Democratic Training Centre in Devon and provide longer courses, building on the New Economy Programme.

“We really do want to focus a lot of our strategy on training within the sector. Looking at how we can work together with local authorities and policy makers for everyone’s benefit,” said Ms Gordon-Farleigh.

More details at