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Greater Manchester Citizens Statement

Citizens UK and Greater Manchester Citizens offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims, families and friends of the terrible attack last night. We will not let hatred divide us; we will stand together regardless of our faith or political allegiance and work for the common good. 

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COMMUNITY ORGANISING CO-ORDINATES CIVIL SOCIETY RESPONSE TO THE GENERAL ELECTION 2017

 

  Diverse civil society alliances aim to build relationships with PPCs in 100 constituencies

-   If elected PPCs are invited to eat with us at a Great Get Together meal in memory of Jo Cox

 Citizens UK, the national home of community organising, which brings together over 350 diverse civil society institutions including churches, mosques, synagogues, schools, universities and community groups, has launched its response to the snap general election.

Citizens UK is calling on political candidates to engage with civil society in their constituencies and pledge to build a relationship to work together for the common good with an aim to make Britain a more just, inclusive and welcoming country by 2022.

Local leaders from the community organising movement will be meeting with prospective parliamentary candidates in at least 100 constituencies across England and Wales. Citizens UK leaders will be organising private meetings with PPC’s, hosting round-tables and Citizens Assemblies as part of their strategy to develop lasting and useful working relationships with politicians.

Supporting people to be involved and engaged with the democratic process is a core element of Citizens UK’s work. Its Community Organisers are also training 195 leaders in 13 educational institutions, with a target of reaching 16,700 people, explaining the voting process to young people and encourage them to register to vote in the 2017 General Election.

Revd Tim Norwood, co-chair, Citizens UK Council said: “Whilst the snap election may have taken us by surprise, as civil society leaders we see this as a great opportunity to build relationships with those people looking to represent us and our communities.

 “We want to work together with politicians to create a more just, inclusive and welcoming country; and that can only happen if we engage with the political process.

 “Citizens UK brings together people of different ages, ethnicities, those of faith and no-faith; and by listening to each other we find the common issues that unite us. Civil society institutions have more power when they join forces. We’re looking forward to meeting hundreds of prospective parliamentary candidates over the next few weeks.”

 

 

 

 

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Harrow Citizens sign up at pre-founding partners' assembly

Young Irish Dancers entertained at the launch of Harrow Citizens.

 

The foundations of a broad community-based movement dedicated to improving the lives of people in Harrow through local campaigns and targeted action will be laid today at an inaugural meeting at St Jerome’s Church of England Bilingual Primary School.

Leaders from faith groups, and schools, will combine to form a new alliance under the banner, Harrow Citizens, part of national community organising charity, Citizens UK. The aim is to stimulate a grassroots movement in Harrow that will become powerful enough to represent the interests of ordinary people.

 Scores of supporters have signed up to a pre - founding partners’ assembly, laying aside their differences in the interests of the common good.

The emerging organisation will become an affiliate of Citizens UK, a powerful and growing network of over 350 faith groups, schools and colleges.  It is committed to developing the skills of communities so people are better able to identify their own needs, improve their neighbourhoods and participate more fully in society. It already has the ear of leading politicians.

 

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Training in community organising in South Africa: a first for Citizens UK

 

CUK and TELCO lead organiser, Emmanuel Gotora, tells us about Citizens first training trip to South Africa. 

In March 2017, I was privileged to lead Citizens UK's first community organising training in Africa. Together with our Tower Hamlets Organiser, Yasmin Aktar, I joined the team from the Commonwealth Foundation, who funded the training, at the O.R. Thambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, Johannesburg. We were here for a 4-day training and learning exchange with 30 representatives from eight out of the nine countries under the banner of the Southern African Alliance for Youth Employment (SAAYE).

Funded by the Commonwealth Foundation and hosted by the Economic Justice Network in South Africa, the training explored community organising as a vehicle for constructive engagement with national governments, with a view to taking action on the issue of youth employment in nine countries across the SADC region - Botswana; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; Swaziland; Zambia; and Zimbabwe.

Over four jam-packed days, 31 participants from national church councils, youth organisations, and trade and student unions, engaged with the training curriculum. They interrogated the universals of broad-based community organising such as relational power, leadership, negotiation and self-interest. These are usually taught over six days, but the participants' understanding of the material was both insightful and instinctive.

I am encouraged that there is a group of talented people hungry for change, and willing to explore broad-based organising as the vehicle.

SAAYE! Salute! 

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Interview with Liam Harrison - Market Director, Atkins

 

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Liam Harrison is a Market Director for Atkins' Infrastructure division and is responsible for developing business around the UK’s biggest schemes such as the Northern Powerhouse, Crossrail 2 and the regeneration of Old Oak Common.

In 2012 Liam was responsible for developing an Olympic skills legacy which led to a collaboration with Citizens UK in East London and the development of the Pathways to Engineering scheme.

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Pupils in mass action for Redways improvements

In April, 400 pupils from five MK schools walked from their schools to the city centre to ask the Leader of the Council for 50 Redways improvements in MK’s 50th birthday year.   This was the first major action of the Redways Relaunch campaign, which was filmed and broadcast on BBC TV Look East.

Two pupil leaders, from MK Academy and St. Paul’s Catholic School, knocked for Cllr Pete Marland at Civic Offices and asked him to accompany them across the road to City Square, outside Marks & Spencers, where all the other students and pupils were gathered.

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Greater Manchester's leading Mayoral candidates pledge support for action on social care, low pay, hate crime and homelessness

 

 

Greater Manchester’s leading Mayoral candidates pledge support for action on low pay, social care, hate crime and homelessness.

 Greater Manchester’s leading Mayoral candidates supported Citizens UK’s pledges around issues of social care, housing and homelessness, low pay and hate crime, when they addressed the Greater Manchester Citizens (GMC) founding assembly on Monday May 1st.

Candidates, Sean Anstee (Conservative), Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrat) and Andy Burnham (Labour), and also agreed to meet with GM Citizens within 100 days of taking office, should they be elected, to discuss how to proceed with the pledges below:

  • Social Care - implementing and enforcing minimum standards as part of commissioning arrangements including an end to 15min visits, ending zero hours contracts.
  • Living Wage – to actively champion and promote the real living wage. Launching Living Wage Week in greater Manchester every year. Pushing for councils and key institutions to pay a real Living Wage and use their buying power to drive change across other sectors. To work with greater Manchester citizens to put pressure on Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs and push them to pay the real living wage by the start of the 2019/2020 season.
  • Housing/Homelessness - galvanise the regions housing providers (both in the private rented sector and housing association sectors) and decision makers to create a framework of Housing First options in order that long term appropriate housing is provided to those groups most at risk due to their circumstances and the impacts they face of welfare reform.
  • Hate Crime- Ensure all members of the police force are trained in recording hate crime, can differentiate between race and religious hate crime, and monitor and measure hate crime data to identify emerging trends and focus resources on the relevant areas. Provide a victim support service that is effective and inclusive.

 

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What is a Citizens UK Assembly?

Citizens Assemblies are a powerful tool community organising uses to publicly seek commitments from politicians which can then be used to hold them to account. Assemblies are primarily events for our member institutions to join together and collaboratively approach decision makers. A Citizens Assembly is not a hustings, an election debate or a partisan political rally. We don’t invite questions from the floor. Instead we hear powerful testimonies and stories from leaders of our member institutions. These stories are focused on priorities our member institutions have agreed to work on together and are often the result of a local listening campaign to determine these issues.

The political candidates we choose to invite to respond to these issues on stage with us are selected by considering what their likelihood of success is, judged on objective considerations, such as how parties in the area have performed in recent local and national elections, and even how bookmakers are reporting the candidate’s odds of winning.

Our schedule includes contributions from leaders, music and drama as well as hearing the responses from candidates. It’s a practical necessity to limit candidates joining us on stage.

A key message from the chair of every Assembly we run is to remind the audience that there are other candidates standing for election, and the event is not partisan. Importantly the final message of every Assembly is to remind audience members that their duty is to take part in the political process and to encourage others to join them in doing so, rather than proscribing who anyone should vote for.

We are always happy to explain this position to any candidate and are proud of the long history we have of delivering important Citizens Assemblies.

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Youth Music becomes first Living Wage Friendly Funder in the arts and culture sector

 Picture shows young people making music at a project run by Brighter Sound in Manchester, funded by Youth Music. Brighter Sound is a Living Wage Employer. 

National Charity Youth Music is leading the way by joining the Living Wage Foundation’s new scheme for charity funders –the first arts and cultural funder to do so. The scheme recognises funders that commit to supporting charities by funding posts at the Living Wage or above.

Youth Music invests in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. The charity supports around 350 projects across England, reaching more than 75,000 participants aged 0-25 each year. Projects funded by Youth Music work with young people in complicated situations, helping them to develop personally and socially as well as musically.

Youth Music is a designated distributor of public funding from the National Lottery via Arts Council England, and fundraises from a variety of other sources. As a Living Wage Friendly Funder, Youth Music will support successful applicants to pay the Living Wage to any grant-funded staff posts. Youth Music will also encourage grantholders to become accredited employers.




 

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1000 Greater Manchester Citizens to challenge Mayoral candidates at Assembly

The crisis in social care, housing and homelessness, low pay and hate crime, will top the agenda when Greater Manchester Mayoral candidates get a grilling from Greater Manchester Citizens (GMC) at their invite-only founding assembly tomorrow,  May 1st.

Citizens UK and GMC will host hundreds of guests at this unique event at the iconic Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays. This is the biggest event of the Mayoral campaign. The leading Mayoral candidates, Andy Burnham (Labour), Sean Anstee (Conservative) and Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrat) will be asked how they would tackle the above issues, identified as top priorities for the area by Citizens’ groups and their members.

Guests in the audience will share their personal testimonies on these subjects, presented along with drama and music, and will ask the candidates to make certain pledges should they gain office, including:

-          Social Care - implementing and enforcing minimum standards as part of commissioning arrangements including an end to 15min visits, ending zero hours contracts.

 -          Living Wage – to actively champion and promote the real living wage. Launching Living Wage Week in greater Manchester every year. Pushing for councils and key institutions to pay a real Living Wage and use their buying power to drive change across other sectors. 

 -          Football- To work with greater Manchester citizens to put pressure on Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs and push them to pay the real living wage by the start of the 2019/2020 season.

 -          Housing/Homelessness - galvanise the regions housing providers (both in the private rented sector and housing association sectors) and decision makers to create a framework of Housing First options in order that long term appropriate housing is provided to those groups most at risk due to their circumstances and the impacts they face of welfare reform.

 -          Hate Crime- Ensure all members of the police force are trained in recording hate crime, can differentiate between race and religious hate crime, and monitor and measure hate crime data to identify emerging trends and focus resources on the relevant areas. Provide a victim support service that is effective and inclusive.

 

 

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