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Tyne and Wear Citizens Launch Assembly on November 7

On Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 6pm communities from across Tyne & Wear will come together to launch Tyne & Wear Citizens. This diverse alliance of faith communities, residents groups, schools, colleges, universities, and charities has been built to take action for the common good of the region.

Over the last nine months we have used Community Organising to listen, build relationships, identify injustices facing our people and launch campaigns to tackle some of our regions problems.

Our Launch Assembly is an opportunity to celebrate this work, seek public commitments from decision makers and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to play their part in making Tyne & Wear a better place for us all. At this historic event we will commit to peace, participation and reweaving the fabric of civil society.

Amidst celebration, powerful stories and pledges of hard work, the foundations will be laid for a new wave of action for social justice.

Doors Open at 17.30pm. Please take your seats by 17.45pm

For further information of any queries contact Sara Bryson, Community Organiser, sara.bryson@citizensuk.org

Details and tickets here: 



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Action to Mark One Year anniversary of the Calais Jungle Demolition

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Waltham Forest Listening Campaign, 2017

Just wanted to share something fun to start your day. All shot on smart phones and put together by the youth worker at cornerstone church. It is a short video about Waltham Forest' s listening campaign.

Have a good day.

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Boost to government's flagship plan to resettle refugees as communities step up


Community groups who pledged to sponsor a refugee family at the launch of Sponsor Refugees at East London Mosque.


 Boost to government’s flagship plan to resettle refugees as more communities step up to sponsor refugees

More refugees from the Syrian conflict will be resettled in the UK over the coming years with the launch of Sponsor Refugees, a foundation set up by Citizens UK to boost the community sponsorship of refugees.

Sponsor Refugees will advise and support faith and community groups who take on the responsibility of raising funds, finding a home and then welcoming and settling refugee families in their neighbourhoods. 

Community sponsorship of refugees was launched by the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, in 2016 at Lambeth Palace, and since then groups from Bude in Cornwall to Flixton in Greater Manchester, from Hackney in East London to Fishguard in West Wales, have successfully been pioneering the scheme.

The launch of Sponsor Refugees is set to boost the scheme, with more than 30 pledges to carry forward community sponsorships across the country made at the Sponsor Refugees launch event at the East London Mosque on Monday 9th October 2017.  

Muslim and Jewish groups are now taking up community sponsorship, alongside denominations and non-faith community groups. 

Hasanain Jaffer from the Clifton Road Mosque in Birmingham is among those who will be taking forward community sponsorship. Hasanain Jaffer says:

“There is growing interest among British Muslims in sponsorship of refugees.  We have amazing resources in our communities and are well placed to take on the responsibility for welcoming and supporting refugees from the Syrian conflict. The great thing about community sponsorship is that it involves government, local government, voluntary organisations and community groups all working together.  Muslim institutions and their members have always been at the fore of charitable giving and stepping up for humanitarian causes.  In this vein, Clifton Road Mosque will be stepping up to our moral and religious duty to sponsor a family and assisting the Methodist church locally in their application.”



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Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor remembered

 By Bernadette Farrell, the first Deputy Director of Citizens UK.

 There will be a Citizens UK delegation at this Wednesday’s Mass in Memory of the late Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor at Westminster Cathedral from 17.00 to 19.00.

 As Cardinal Murphy O’Connor is remembered this week, one image towers in my memory.  It was May-day, 2007. Cormac walked out through the doors of Westminster Cathedral. Undeterred by the pouring rain, he greeted the waiting crowds, stretched across the piazza. Then, in colorful procession, he led them down Victoria Street and beyond Parliament. Standing in Trafalgar Square he addressed 15,000 people, all waving their national flags alongside union jacks. Beside him were senior representatives of all parties and religious traditions. It had taken Cormac’s political courage to bring them together.  At the first Mass for Migrants that he introduced the previous year, 2006, he had called for an amnesty for undocumented migrants.

 How many previous Cardinals had become a voice for the people? In 1889, Henry Manning’s intervention won a living wage for the starving dockers of East London. His words and actions led to 125 years of Catholic Social Teaching. Now, rising from Manning’s chair, Cormac named the injustice of his own day, in the capital city he had grown to love: ‘While our nation benefits economically from the presence of undocumented workers, too often we turn a blind eye when they are exploited by employers.’ He continued, ‘We want you to know that you belong … We are grateful for the role you play in our economy … We want you to be welcomed such that you are strangers no longer.’ At his words, the entire assembly burst in to prolonged applause. Many people were in tears.

Leading the intercessions, at the first Mass, was “M.” The daughter of parents with an ancestral claim to UK residence, she spent her formative years in London, an active member of her local parish, but had become ‘illegal,’ without knowing it, on turning eighteen. Her family were reeling from the loss of her brother in a car accident. In the chaos that followed his sudden death, M’s mother overlooked the residency application for her daughter. When we met, she was a model citizen and parishioner, who worked hard, supported her family and volunteered regularly for her community. In the early hours of the morning her door was kicked down by immigration officers.

The Strangers into Citizens campaign grew from hundreds of similar stories, shared by Catholic priests, sisters and headteachers, trying, however possible, to offer support.


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Victory for Living Wage Campaigners as London Stadium agrees to pay Living Wage


East London Citizens campaign for a London Living wage outside the London Stadium HQ in August.

 Citizens UK welcomes the decision of the London Stadium to pay the London Living Wage to its employees following TELCO’s (East London Citizens) organising campaign with low paid Stadium workers.

 Citizens UK Living Wage Community Organiser, Mike Pugh said: 

"We are delighted that London Stadium have today agreed to pay the London Living Wage and we look forward to them accrediting with the Living Wage Foundation. This decision will change the lives of the Stadium cleaners, security guards and caterers who have campaigned for this with Citizens UK leaders in East London since January. The Mayor of London has shown great leadership and ensured a Living Wage Legacy five years on from the first Living Wage Olympics.

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Brandenburg Choral Festival Concert in support of Citizens UK

 Brandenburg Choral Festival of London presents Mozart's Requiem to support Citizens UK. 

This concert features the Brandenburg Festival Chorus and Brandenburg Sinfonia, in a programme of marvellous Mozart. In the second half, the festival’s Artistic Director, Robert Porter, leads both groups in the dramatic Requiem, while in the first the instrumentalists will take centre stage with the Adagio and Fugue in C minorDivertimento from The Marriage of Figaro, and the Serenade in D major, known as Serenata Notturna.

(All compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546
Divertimento, K. 492,
 from The Marriage of Figaro
Serenade no. 6 in D major. K. 239,
 'Serenata Notturna'


Requiem in D minor, K. 626

Friday 10th November 2017 7.30pm


HolbornViaduct London EC1A 2DQ


Tickets £23(premium)£18(unreserved) children£5 for tickets visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/191675?ref=citizensuk For more information email emmanuel.gotora@citizensuk.org


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The Living Wage Campaign

 The campaign for a Living Wage is a movement of independent businesses, organisations and citizens who believe a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.  We have been campaigning since 2001 to ensure that everyone can earn a real Living Wage that meets the cost of living, not just the government minimum.


The movement began at a meeting in East London, when the grassroots organisation Citizens UK brought together churches, mosques, schools and other local institutions to talk about the issues affecting their communities.

One issue came up again and again – low pay.

At the time the government’s minimum wage was just £3.70 an hour.Some people were working two or three minimum wage jobs and still struggling to make ends meet. The gap between the legal minimum and the amount needed for families to live on was having a big impact on employees and their family life. And nowhere more so than in London, where housing and childcare costs are much higher than in other parts of the country.

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Living Wage decision imminent after call for London Stadium boss to leave an Olympic Living Wage Legacy


Cleaners from the London Stadium joined East London Citizens (TELCO) to call on the Stadium's boss to pay a London Living Wage to all workers at the home of West Ham United.

Cleaners thanked Mark Robinson, Head of External Affairs at LLDC, for paying a Living Wage throughout the London 2017 Athletics Championships but called for this to be extended all year round to all staff - including at West Ham United home matches.

Mr Robinson confirmed on behalf of E20 Stadium LLP that a feasibility study into the Living Wage was due to be completed next week and a final decision on whether or not to implement the Living Wage will be taken by E20 Stadium’s Board at its next meeting later this month.

The real Living Wage is independently calculated by the Living Wage Foundation as £9.75 in London and is voluntarily paid by over 3,400 businesses and organisations who go further than the government’s legal minimum wage of £7.50 for over 25s.

Cleaners shared stories of the challenges of living on £7.50 an hour in London and the impact this was having on their families whilst cleaning in a Stadium, which played host to multi-million pound earning footballers and Olympic heroes like Mo Farah.

One cleaner, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “This month I have been able to buy better quality food from the supermarket, purchased some much needed new shoes and clothes and visited my local cinema for the first time in a long time. They are small pleasures but it would not have been possible without the London Living Wage this month.

“The rest of the year is hard work and its difficult to survive on £7.50 in this city. We think its only fair that we are paid the London Living Wage all year round and we want E20 Stadium to accredit as a Living Wage employer”


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Welcoming newcomers - Canada's Pride in Community Sponsorship of Refugees

Welcoming Newcomers – Canadians’ Pride!-   By Bekele Woyecha

Canada has been at the forefront of refugee welcome in the past many decades. Its private sponsorship of newcomers has been hailed by many. This success story has attracted the attention of many in the past few years. That was partly the reason why The Citizens UK delegation composed of Nick Coke, Tim Finch and Bekele Woyecha visited Ottawa and Toronto from 24th to 30th July 2017 to learn about the refugee sponsorship program Canada is known for. The delegation was also there to build relationships with Canadian refugee sponsors, sponsorship agreement holders, trainers, advocacy groups and fellow newcomers. The visit was an opportunity to see Canada’s decades of experience of welcoming newcomers through sponsorship and pave ways for further collaboration with those who have made this possible.

The visit started at the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada office in central Ottawa. Having had a constructive discussion at the IRCC, as it is referred in Canada, the delegation’s next task in the agenda was to visit the Lebanese and Arab Social Services Agency. This was followed by a short break and an engaging event at The Ottawa Muslim Association. Good fellowship, mouth-watering food and strong relationship struck by the end of the first day.

Next in the agenda was to visit the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and a private sponsor and learn from their decades of experience. The pride in the faces of those present was extremely encouraging and the stories they shared with us will last long in our memories.  This was followed by a visit to Salvation Army team at Ottawa Citadel - a Salvation Army church and community centre. This visit gave us the opportunity to hear directly from those who are engaged in sponsorship and helping those seeking sanctuary locally. Two days gone. Lots learnt and lots of relationships struck.


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