About Choosing Change
Choosing Change works with people engaged in social, community or organisational change – for example, regenerating disadvantaged neighbourhoods, developing people-friendly organisations, or building sustainable communities.
Many people would subscribe to the principle of ‘empowerment’ – empowering communities to control things locally, empowering disadvantaged groups to challenge discrimination, empowering customers to influence services, empowering staff to buy in to their organisations. But putting empowerment into practice is another matter.
Our belief is that, for empowerment to be meaningful, it has to happen at both an organisational and personal level. Organisations need to create new ways of enabling people to participate effectively. But individuals need also to tackle the internal barriers, the self-defeating habits of thought and action, that so often hold us back.
Choosing Change aims to share learning about how people transform their lives, organisations and communities for the better.
About Roger Saunders
“I see Choosing Change as a forum for shared learning. I want to keep developing the best possible tools, and creating the best possible opportunities, for genuinely empowering people and communities. I would love to hear from anyone who shares a similar passion or is doing similar work, and is interested in getting involved in some way.”
Roger has worked in social housing and regeneration for 25 years.
In the 1970s and early 80s, he worked in community and political theatre as a writer, actor and director. After a period developing and working in the housing co-operative movement, he joined Priority Estates Project in 1985. In the 1980s he was part of the PEP team developing local housing management on difficult to let estates.
After PEP became independent of government in 1989, Roger carried out a wide range of projects for local authorities, housing associations, and community groups. During the ‘90s, he developed and co-ordinated a government-sponsored national programme of training for residents, consisting of around 35 events each year.
Community development and empowerment have been a major part of Roger’s work. He has developed a variety of community-led structures – including neighbourhood agreements, community associations, multi-agency forums and contract boards. He is experienced in participatory methods for engaging people, such as PLA (Participatory Learning and Action).
From the mid-90s, Roger worked increasingly on local economic development, in partnership with European organisations, and led the development of a new model known as Resident Services Organisations (RSOs). He subsequently worked with partners to pilot the approach – setting up community-based organisations to employ local people to deliver local services in their own neighbourhoods.
Roger was Chief Executive of PEP from 2001 to 2005, also working as a Neighbourhood Renewal Adviser to the government. He has an MSc in Management Development and Training, is a qualified NLP Practitioner, and is a member of the Human Givens Institute. He has published a wide range of reports and guides on housing, resident services organisations, community involvement and inter-personal skills.
Roger is a qualified Human Givens psychotherapist and
In 2005 he set up Choosing Change, which aims to empower people and communities.