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Citizens Cymru Wales

Founded in October 2014, Citizens Cymru Wales builds diverse alliances of communities organising for power, social justice and the common good.

Our member organisations are are churches, schools, mosques, unions and other civil society organisation that have:

  • deep roots in their community;
  • an interest in developing people to become effective community leaders;
  • a vision for greater social justice;
  • a willingness to turn that vision into action for the common good;
  • a hunger for change which local people can see, taste or touch.

We are non-partisan, but we promote greater democratic participation in public life. Our broad-based community organising method (read more here) helps ordinary people to get a seat at the table with those in power and negotiate for change on the local issues they care about.

Since 2014, Citizens Cymru Wales campaigns have resulted in:

  • £15 million of extra wages for Welsh workers from the campaign we lead for the Real Living Wage (figures from Cardiff Business School);
  • the resettlement of Syrian refugees across Wales, and the pioneering of Community Sponsorship in Narberth, Fishguard, Aberystwyth and Haverfordwest;
  • numerous local campaigns, such as the provision of a new Zebra crossing on the Gurnos, the first Halal Nando’s in Cardiff, and the development of dementia-friendly Zimmers.

If this resonates with you and your organisation, please get in touch to find out how you can become a member organisation.

You can sign up to our monthly newsletter here.

News

‘Extend the Welcome’

By Ibby Osman, student at Cathays High School Cardiff

Leaders from Citizens Cymru Wales joined chapters from across the Citizens UK network for the Citizens UK Civil Society Summit in London on 29 June this year. Nirushan Sudarasan, Ibby Osman and Abdi Osman were among the Welsh cohort that traveled up to celebrate Citizens UK’s 30th anniversary, hosted amazingly by Kings College London on the Strand.

It was an amazing and inspiring day with lots of fascinating testimony from so many leaders including a resettled Syrian family from Milton Keynes whose children are flourishing in school. They took to the stage to launch the ‘Extend the Welcome’ campaign – which is all about making sure the UK government continues to resettle refugees once the current programme ends in 2020.

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Cynlluniau i groesawu teulu o Syria i Ogledd Cymru drwy nawdd cymunedol / Plans to welcome a Syrian family to North Wales through community sponsorship

By Catherine Griffiths, Croeso Menai

On July 4th Croeso Menai held its first public meeting in Emaus Chapel, Bangor, to explore the possibility of community sponsorship in the Bangor/Menai Bridge area. Although we now have several Syrian families living locally through resettlement under the council-led programme, so far there have been no areas in North Wales considering community sponsorship. And what a turnout! We had around 45 enthusiastic participants who, by the end, voted overwhelmingly to continue with the project and bring a refugee family to North Wales. 

 

Gan Catherine Griffiths, Croeso Menai

Ar Orffennaf 4ydd, cynhaliodd Croeso Menai eu cyfarfod cyhoeddus cyntaf yn Eglwys Emaus, Bangor, i ystyried y posibilrwydd o nawdd cymunedol yn ardal Bangor / Porthaethwy. Er bod gennym lawer o deuluoedd o Syria yn byw yn lleol trwy’r cynllun ailsefydlu o dan arweiniad y cyngor, hyd yn hyn ni fu unrhyw ardal yng Ngogledd Cymru ddechrau grŵp nawdd cymunedol i ffoaduriaid. A daeth criw da i’r cyfarfod! Roedd gennym oddeutu 45 o gyfranogwyr brwdfrydig a oedd, erbyn y diwedd, wedi pleidleisio'n frwd i barhau gyda'r prosiect er mwyn dod â theulu o ffoaduriaid i Ogledd Cymru.

 

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Community Leadership Taster Training Course - 17 October 2018 in Pontypridd

Here is the flyer invite for our next taster training on 17 October in Pontypridd

Email richard.weaver@citizenswales.org.uk for more information and to book your place on this training

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A very different place now - a reflection on Citizens UK national community organising training

By Fr Dean Atkins, St Mary’s Church Butetown, Church in Wales Diocese of Llandaff

I am exhausted and ready to go home.  As people leave - even the trainers too -  I am left alone in the hotel.  It feels a very different place now.  The space has reinvented itself, become just another hotel.  A family books in at reception.  They wait for their room.  The children look tired.  At last, their room is ready. They pull their suitcases behind them.

Six days ago I checked in for the Citizens UK Training in Community Leadership - an hour late -  and was soon plunged into a leadership roleplay as I tried to work out what was happening and what my role this week would be, dazzled by the diversity of those participating, moved by the stories, the experiences, the sheer emotion of those who want to change the world!  These were “power hungry” people, a phrase which has very different meaning for me now than when I first arrived.  Power is no longer a dirty word.

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Croeso Penarth approved to sponsor a Syrian refugee family… at last!

By Lesley Cox, Croeso Penarth

In June 2017 we enthusiastically began our Community Sponsorship journey, never guessing that more than a year later we still would not have welcomed a refugee family to our town.

In April 2017, a small group of interested individuals met together following a Citizens Cymru Wales event where the Community Sponsorship scheme was described. After talking through the requirements, we unanimously agreed that we wanted to go for it! In June we held our first public meeting and this view was supported by all present, and shared by many in the town in the following months. Croeso Penarth has the active support of all the churches, people of most political persuasions and of many individuals  who  strongly believe that this is something positive that Penarth can do to help one family in need at this time. We love living in Penarth and want to offer a family who has experienced the horror of war and the loss of their home, the opportunity to come and settle in our town. We also have a number of people who have offered time and expertise to help them settle here and to learn the language.

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Citizens UK at the 2018 Greenbelt Festival: Acts of the Imagination!

Citizens UK is taking part in the 2018 Greenbelt Festival: Acts of the Imagination! Greenbelt is a vibrant arts festival which takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend (25-27 August). It's organised by Christians with an emphasis on social justice and inclusion. See www.greenbelt.org.uk for lots more information on the festival and the programme for the weekend.

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A reflection on Citizens UK national community organising training

Rev Carole Challis, Vale of Glamorgan Methodist Circuit

FREE.

This was the word shared by a young boy as his feeling in the first rounds of evaluation after a Citizens UK action in Lewisham in south London. This was an action to present a card to the Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to ask her to vote in favour of misogyny being recorded as a hate crime. The action was timed to precede the meeting of the National Police Chiefs' Council the following week.

In the second round the organiser asked him to say more. His response: “ I am not a girl, but if these girls feel more free I feel more free. Like a weight is lifted off my shoulders”.

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Citizens Cymru Wales June 2018 newsletter

As Co-chairs of Citizens Cymru Wales, we are very excited to introduce the first of many newsletters aimed at keeping you right up-to-date with the actions, challenges and successes of our Citizens Chapter.  Since our founding assembly in October of 2014 our alliance of civil society institutions, including churches, mosques, trade unions, schools, colleges and community organisations, has gone from strength to strength.  As a chapter of Citizens UK we have been busy ‘reweaving the fabric of society’, using community organising approaches to build relationships, challenge injustice and hold the powerful to account.

These newsletters will give you a flavour of the breadth and diversity of issues we are seeking to tackle together, including low pay, refugee resettlement, and community safety.  They will also provide a chance to find out more about the people who make up our institutions, folk who represent many of Wales’ diverse ethnic, religious and geographical communities who are building friendships, finding things in common and supporting each other to make change.

We intend to distribute further newsletters in July, September and November this year, and on into next year.  Please keep an eye out for them.  Use them to learn about the issues that are impacting on our communities and to keep up to speed with Citizens Cymru Wales actions.  We hope they may challenge you, with your institutions, to join us in acting for social justice and the common good.

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Citizens Action Wins Big Pay Rise for Cardiff Airport Workers... But Not Until 2020. We Don't Want Jam Tomorrow: We Want the Real Living Wage Today!

'Jammie Dodger' Action at Cardiff Airport Prompts Progress on the Real Living Wage 

By Jonathan Cox
Lead Organiser, Citizens Cymru Wales

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Photo: Rev Catherine Brobbey (Vale of Glamorgan Methodist Circuit) and Jess Maddocks offer packs of Jammie Dodgers to passengers entering Cardiff Airport.

Citizens Cymru Wales organised a Jammie Dodger-themed action at Cardiff Airport on May 1st 2018 to call on the Chief Executive, Deb Barber, to stop dodging the meeting she had promised local Citizens leaders before Christmas, to stop promising 'jam tomorrow', and instead deliver a Real Living Wage for Airport Workers by Living Wage Week in November 2018. 

The Jammie Dodger Action prompted the Airport to issue a statement pledging to introduce the Real Living Wage for its workers by April 2020 (with an interim increase in April 2019).  If this happens it could mean a pay rise of 12% for Security Workers based on the likely Real Living Wage figure in April 2020.  We understand that Deb Barber has asked to meet with the Living Wage Foundation's Accreditation Partner in Wales, Cynnal Cymru, which is another positive development. 

It is too early to start celebrating, especially as the Airport's workers will have received seven years worth of publicly-funded poverty pay before they finally get the Real Living Wage in April 2020.  Another two years is too long to wait, so we need to keep the pressure on for the Airport to accredit by Living Wage Week in November this year.  As Leanne Wood AM said when she raised our campaign at First Minister's Questions in the Senedd after the action, we need 'deeds, not warm words' from Cardiff Airport. 

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'More Kids, More Active, More Often' - Campaigning for Affordable Leisure in Cardiff

Isla Horton got angry when a change to the pricing system at leisure centres in Cardiff threatened her daughter's opportunities to do the activities she loved.  Her local church is part of the Llandaff Area Deanery, a member institution of Citizens Cymru Wales.  Here Isla tells the story of her campaign for affordable leisure for her children and thousands of others in the capital, and how community organising helped her get around the table to negotiate with decision-makers. 

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Photo: Lily Horton outside Western Leisure Centre, Ely

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