Citizens UK Pledges Action in National Drive to Register 250,000 Voters

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ballot-box-32384_1280National community organising charity, Citizens UK, has today announced its plans to register 50,000 people to vote ahead of the General Election, as part of its charitable commitment to developing the capacity of people to participate in public life.

The announcement follows recent reports suggesting that as many as one million people may not be registered to vote, with particular concern that hundreds of thousands of young people have not engaged with the new system of voter registration, and some individuals who thought they were registered, potentially discovering too late that they have ‘dropped off’ the electoral register.

Citizens UK is an alliance of 400 schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, colleges, unions and voluntary sector groups reaching approximately half a million people. They have joined forces with partner organisations, Bite the Ballot and 38 Degrees, who combined, have pledged to register at least 250,000 voters.

Neil Jameson, Director, Citizens UK said:

“Our members believe it is a privilege and a responsibility to be an active citizen, and that the vote is the starting point of a healthy democracy.

“During National Voter Registration Week, 2nd – 8th February, teams from our member institutions will be encouraging their friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to register to vote, and just as importantly, check that they are still registered to vote.

“Throughout the week we’ve got hundreds of activities happening from voter registration checks after services in St. Swithuns Church, South London to primary school children in Tottenham taking part in democracy workshops before voter registration door knocking on their estate. A group of our Muslim members in Cardiff have pledged to each ask 40 of their closest neighbours to check and register, whilst first time voters in Nottingham will be hosting events in their Students Unions and canvassing student houses to encourage them to register.

“We’ve pledged to ensure 50,000 voters will check and register, allowing them to take part in the general election. As a non-partisan organisation we don’t seek to influence who people vote for, but that they participate and engage.”

Citizens UK works with many schools and colleges, and in London, a number of first time voters are gearing up to delivering a series of events to encourage their peers to register.

Hadia Alhalaki, Citizens UK member and student at City and Islington College, North London said:

“I am a proud British citizen. My parents had to make a choice to leave their friends and family in the Yemen and move to the UK. I feel privileged that this May I will be able to freely exercise my democratic right to vote.

“Democracy is a luxury not everyone has access to. It’s in our interest as young people to take part in the voting process and make sure our voice is heard over issues such as jobs and housing. If we want to hold the people in power to account then we have to engage with the process.

“Throughout the first week of February I will be explaining why voting is important to my fellow students and encouraging them to register to vote.”

ENDS

Below is a small selection of Voter Registration Events happening across the Citizens UK network. Please contact the Citizens UK organiser to arrange filming, photography and interviews.

4th & 5th February, young people will be leading a voter registration drive at Coulsdon College, Croydon. Contact James Asfa, South London Citizens m 07739914225

6th February, Nottingham Citizens will be working with the local network of masjids to use Friday prayers to check and register voters at a number of mosques across Nottingham. Contact Lydia Rye, Nottingham Citizens m 07939598973

4th & 5th February, young people will be leading a voter registration drive at City and Islington College, North London, before a celebratory march on 5th February along Upper Street to Islington Town Hall. Contact Promise Knight, North London Citizens m 07931228713

February 14th action in Cathays ward, Cardiff which has only 30% voter registration at the moment. Mass door knocking exercise. Contact Jonathan Cox, Citizens Cymru Wales m 07919484066

For press enquiries please contact Gillian Owen, head of media, Citizens UK

e gillian.owen@citizensuk.org m 07876246150

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Citizens UK leaders call on local councils to resettle 50 refugees

Since September 2014, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and non-faith Citizens UK members have been working together to ask their local authorities to resettle a modest number of the most needy refugees like Nour.

In December 2014, multi-ethnic, diverse leaders from our communities built teams and engaged 24 local authorities from around the UK. From Bristol to Norwich, from Croydon to Birmingham, Citizens UK leaders called on their councils to respond to the unprecedented refugee crisis that the world is currently facing.

You can help by asking your council to follow the example set by the Leader of Kingston Council, Kevin Davis, and commit to resettling 50 refugees. If 50 councils agree to resettle 50 people, we will transform the lives of 2500 people.

See here for details about how you can get involved in the campaign:

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If your local authority commits to resettling refugees, here is a brief explanation of the next steps they need to take:

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For more information or for help in getting your local authority to resettle 50 refugees please contact info@citizensuk.org

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Croydon Partnership commits to Living Wage​

Left to right: Anna Mansaray, Steve Yewman, Karyn Storey, Pius Ofori, Suzan Algeo, Thirza Legg, James Asfa
Left to right: Anna Mansaray, Steve Yewman, Karyn Storey, Pius Ofori, Suzan Algeo, Thirza Legg, James Asfa

Left to right: Anna Mansaray, Steve Yewman, Karyn Storey, Pius Ofori, Suzan Algeo, Thirza Legg, James Asfa

In a meeting with local community organising alliance Croydon Citizens, regional branch of national community organising charity, Citizens UK, the Croydon Partnership committed to paying the London Living Wage and becoming an accredited Living Wage employer. The partnership consists of Westfield and Hammerson and is responsible for the planned £1bn shopping centre in Croydon.

Karyn Storey, a student at Coulsdon College and a member of Croydon Citizens said,

“It was great to hear the Partnership’s pledge to become a London Living Wage employer. Young people in Croydon need to know there will be jobs in our borough that enable us to live and not merely survive.

“We look forward to working with the Croydon Partnership and celebrating when they complete their accreditation process.”

The Croydon Partnership committed to paying the London Living Wage to all directly employed and sub-contracted staff and also to promoting the voluntary Living Wage scheme throughout the borough. The London Living Wage is currently £9.15 per hour, a rate that is calculated annually by the Greater London Authority according to the basic cost of living in the UK.

The commitment follows Croydon Citizens actions last year which got cross party support for the London Living Wage in the run up to the local elections, with both outgoing leader of the council Cllr Mike Fisher and current leader Cllr Tony Newman giving their support to the campaign in front of 150 people at the Croydon Citizens accountability assembly in April 2014. Cllr Newman also formally committed the council to accrediting as a Living Wage employer.

 Suzan Algeo from St Jude’s Church and co-chair of Croydon Citizens said,

“There are many people in our community who are struggling to get by and provide for their families on less than the Living Wage. That’s why it’s so important that the Croydon Partnership are following Cllr Tony Newman and showing leadership on the Living Wage in Croydon.

“Gaining a commitment to pay is an important first step, but accreditation will cement these promises and ensure both directly employed staff and sub-contractors are paid the Living Wage now, and in the future.”

Steve Yewman, Development Director of Westfield said,

“Westfield has been a long term supporter of the London Living Wage and so we will continue championing it as it’s the right thing to do. We look forward to being able to make our announcement as accredited Livin​g Wage employers as the Croydon Partnership develops.”

 

 

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Posted in Citizens UK, Living Wage Campaign, London Citizens, South London